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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


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Amend Maintenance Due to Financial Change.

  • horleyman
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07 Jul 12 #341710 by horleyman
Topic started by horleyman
Hi,
At my concent order hearing in May last year, It was agreed that my ex wife is the financial weeker party out of both of us and that maintenance payments were approppriate. Therefore we negociated £300 to be paid to my ex wife by me every month until she retires or remarries.
Since this order she has suffered two family bereavments. As a result she has inherited a total sum of £75,000. She has not declared this to me, but I applied to view the wills and have the details of the estate and beneficaries. This has now left my ex wife in a better financial position than me and I would argue that I am now the financial weeker party.
Could I go to court and request a reduction or cancellation of the maintenance payments as a result of this information. Would I stand a chance of being successful or would it look as if i am taking advantage of her new financial wealth and insensative to the loss her of father and aunt ( who were part of my life for 24 years during our marriage and time together.)
The concent order makes no mention that i cannot change maintenance, only that i have no claim on her estate in the event of her death.
My ex and I don''t talk so there is no point in negociating between us. I don''t even know where she lives now, but I have her solicitors details from our earlier divorce matter.

  • Fiona
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07 Jul 12 #341712 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
It''s possible to apply to court for a variation and one may be appropriate if circumstances have changed significantly. However, form E has to be completed and there are several hearing so the legal costs involved aren''t insignificant. There is a general rule that the unsuccessful party may pay the successful party''s costs s so even if you represent yourself there is a risk of ending up with a bill. It is therefore in both parties'' interests to negotiate.

Also the court will take all the circumstances into account such as any increases in your pay and a reaction in living costs if you have a new partner to share living expenses with.

If you can''t negotiate directly with your wife my suggestion would be to consult a solicitor local to you (there are regional differences how courts view spouse maintenance) to find out where you stand and what your options are and then try to negotiate through your solicitor or a mediator.

  • spooky
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07 Jul 12 #341717 by spooky
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This is exactly what I am worried about and as a LIP it is difficult to ascertain how successful my ex would be if he took a variation application to court again.

I suppose that is always the risk, I would be furious if he applied to the court for a variation, was successful and I would then have to pay costs.

I have offered mediation although we live 150miles apart.

If he makes an application I then have no option then to attend

  • maggie
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10 Jul 12 #342252 by maggie
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Getting spousal maintenance reminds me of Woody Allen''s take on the old Biblical saying - "the lion shall lie down with the lamb but the lamb shall not get much sleep."
Will an application to vary spouse maintenance always mean the losing side will have to pay the successful side''s costs?

  • LittleMrMike
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10 Jul 12 #342286 by LittleMrMike
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I really wish I knew the answer to this one, Maggie.
It troubles me, frankly, that there is some evidence of regional variations in spousal maintenance. Cases with similar facts ought to have broadly similar outcomes.
But back to variations. Let me take an example from another area of litigation - personal injury.
Let us suppose I run you down and that I was at fault. You are injured in the collision and suffer loss of wages. I accept that I have to pay you something and we''ll assume that I will pay you £5000. But you want twice that much and won''t budge.
So I can pay £5000 into Court, you say that is not enough, and the matter goes to trial. The judge will not know of the payment into Court.
Let us suppose that you are awarded £8000 in damages. What will then happen is that you get your full costs on the basis that you were justified in rejecting the offer of £5000.
But suppose the judge awards £4500 ? You should have accepted the offer and so you will only get your costs up to the date of the payment into court. You will have to pay all costs after that.
It seems to me that the power to award costs in variation applications should be there, but it should be used only where one party has behaved unreasonably. The nearest I ever got to losing my temper on wiki was with a female poster whose ex had lost his job and had applied to vary. By the way this was some years ago, so nobody on this site needs to assume that what I say refers to them.
I told her that under these circumstances an application to vary was almost bound to succeed. She did not seem to '' get it '' that he couldn''t pay her £10,000 a year SM if his income was £5000.
"But I''ve got an order ! It says he has to pay me £10K a year till he dies or I do ! Couldn''t he sell the car/plasma TV/ home ( or whatever ) and pay me out of that ? Can''t be get a loan ? Or put it on his credit card ? How he pays is his problem. " And so on.
Obviously this is an extreme case but if, for argument''s sake, both parties have been negotiating within the parameters of what is reasonable, the offers made were fair, and might have been accepted had a different judge been sitting - then it is at least arguable that no order for costs should be made.
LMM

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10 Jul 12 #342298 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona

Will an application to vary spouse maintenance always mean the losing side will have to pay the successful side''s costs?


No, not any more. Only if the application or contesting it is unreasonable.

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10 Jul 12 #342307 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
That is certainly the position as it should be and which I would like to see.

LMM

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