I have submitted previous threads on this matter. Briefly, my former wife relocated many miles from my home after divorce and took my children with her, in order to create difficulties in my contact with my sons. I therefore gave up my job in IT and moved closer to my children so that I can have contact with my children - including over night staying contact which my sons and I cherish - and set up my own business and became self employed. This resulted in a reduction in my wages, naturally, and therefore I couldn''t maintain spousal maintenance and reduced this. Simultaneously I applied to the court to vary downwards, self represented, and lost miserably. I was ordered to pay costs and all arrears. I did not, I could not.
Time has passed by and now several months later, having accrued further arrears, I have been summoned to the court ''to face questions and cross examination'' regarding my finances - bank statements etc. the court papers talk of enforcement. I have no property, no assets, I have debts, and no capital - I am self employed - I am doing well despite the economic down turn but not earning as I was before. I know it will eventually improve so will increase spousal maintenance but cannot to the level ordered, but I do not have ~ £26 K in costs and arrears of spousal maintenace to pay. Am I facing the end ? The divorce has meant I have lost my home, my children, my career, my family and friends by moving away from my birth home. I will answer the questions in court but I do not have thousands required to pay the costs and arrears. What will they do to me? Is this the beginning of the end?
I have been looking at your case with a great deal of sympathy and not a little anger at the way you have been treated, both by your wife and the judicial system.
No, you cannot pay money you do not have, and I suspect it is is no longer realistic or practical a judge to say that you can move back to your old job 250 miles away and reinstate your earnings to what they used to be.
But it''s not easy to know what tactics you shouild use without knowing your currect situation. Dukey used to say that he knew of a case where the Court refused to reduce the income of a payer below a protected level, one that was sufficient at least to make sure you have what Walt Disney called the bare necessities. Knowing Dukey as I do, I know he''s be happy to share his knowledge with you.
I admit to having a great deal of empathy with you because over the last four or five years I have been keeping in contact and travelling considerable distances to keep some contact with my late ex wife ( to move to East Anglia was my decision ) ond of course with my current wife in North Carolina, from which I have recently returned feeling like something the cat brought in.
Thank you. I simply believe that if the judges can for just one moment put the thought that ''this man has taken the steps he has for punitive and manipulative reasons'' to one side and recognise that the outcome of this very particular divorce is complete uprooting of this family and disintegration at all levels, then they would understand my position - the problem is that I am no match to defend against my ex and her trolley loads of notes and possy of legal aid funded solicitors and highly intelligent barristers who are driving a successful campaign to effectively hang, draw and quarter me.
I googled the process last night, ok I haven''t slept a wink, and from what I gather at this stage I am summoned in front of a judge to provide comprehensive details of my means to see how the enforcement can be made. I don''t have property for a charge order to me made; I don''t have a third party owing me money for a third party order to be made; I am self employed and no attachment of earnings order can be made; I don''t have thousands in my bank that an order be made to freeze my account to obtain the money; I live in rented accommodation and do not have possessions that bailiffs can take away (the ex took all household furnishings at the time of sale of matrimonial home - plus I never saw any of my personal possessions ever again!).
I fear that insolvency proceedings may occur which by the nature of my IT business that would effectively come put an end to my hard worked self employment business. That will destroy everything, and what spousal maintenance I am giving will end too and they will just chuck me into prison - its this downward spiral that I am anxious about - this will give them more ammunition to stop my children contact - what will my sons do without me?
I''m really grateful for your sympathy on this - but it is the beginning of the end isn''t it ?
I remember talking to Mike about this when this gentleman first posted, we had slightly different views but it''s fair to say we were both pessimistic of the final outcome, you see Mike has the knowledge here both technical and in law, I have more hands on what happens in court experience, the sum total left me with the same feeling after watching platoon for the first time.
The court ordered SM based on earnings at the time, his wife then moves away presumably to be closer to family, the only way the guy can now see the kids is to move closer meaning starting to work for himself, oppertunitys where few and far between for PAYE work, all seems fair yes?.
Wrong, the court allowing the wife to move is one issue, the SM is another.
The guy falls behind with payments, of course he would,but court are there to enforce the order for maintenance, the fact is the guy left his job, not through I''ll health or redundancy but by choice.
So the guy applies to vary based on new circumstances,as expected the order fails with full costs, does this help?, of course not, it makes a hopeless situation so much worse, if you don''t have the money to pay to start with where do you get the costs money from, so whatever the costs are do your very best to agree with the solicitor to make a payment plan, do not for any reason ignore them thinking it will go away, it won''t, costs plus interest will simply go up.
You will be asked to complete a form N56, it''s needs, your monthly bills,make sure you add costs to liabilitys, estimate your income on the low side, self employment when new is unpredictable to say the least.
The judge or officer of the court must set a protected earnings level, it seems common these days to use a computer program to do this, this may work in your favor,it should buy time if nothing else, once set chances are the order will be sent to the enforcement agency CAPS, if the protected level is to high,it can''t be enforced and is sent back to court, the farce begins.
The best you can hope for is that this goes to court and not magistrates, if it does make sure the judge knows you intend to pay, your doing your best, you will pay the arrears, you will improve payments as you earn more, beg for time and leniency, offer to extend payments beyond the end of term.
Above all offer a payment you can pay every month, this is at best the last chance saloon,
I''m sure Mike will be happy to talk to you about this, I offer the same, if nothing else you will be aware of the process and probabilitys.
Surely they cannot make you pay money you do not have?? Perhaps this is driven by the Ex''s belief that you have money or income that you are not declaring: if at Court you prove this is NOT the case then you would hope that common sense prevails...but from my experience so far of the legal process common sense and justice are not always on the agenda.
aboy you just need to keep believing: good luck mate!