I have been paying CM for 2 children since 2000 on a Consent Order, which says until 17 or end full time education. There has been no contact between my ex and I. My eldest has just left school @ 18, so I have stopped his payments, my 2nd is 16 and I am continuing that payment.
I have been working on contract for a client for the last 17 years, but this week I have been told I can no longer bill the client for any more work as there''s no money left to fund my work. I am self employed, and have only had the one client for that time.
I spoke to my solicitor who handled the divorce in 2000 and she told me I should write to my ex and explain that as I have no income I am unable to pay and that there was no requirement to pay CM from assets.
She said I should suggest
a) agreeing to vary the order to a nominal sum (to keep it alive) until I found work, when I should then start to pay 15% of my net pay.
b) pay an up front amount, e.g. half the remaining maintenance until the youngest leaves school (2 years), which would of course come from assets, in final settlement of all remaining amounts.
c) pay an up front smaller amount and when I find a job, pay 15% of net pay, but not until the up front payment amount has been exhausted on the basis that my ex will not pursue arrears.
My ex is not in the habit of agreeing with anything I suggest. I am very reluctant to involve the courts and solicitors as I live overseas now, so getting to the UK is expensive.
in the circumstances, if you applied to the corut it is likely that the maintenace would be reduced, so I would go for option (a) and apply to the court to vary if your ex does not agree.
when you write to her, you should include a copy of the letter from your ''employer'' as evidence of the change in your circumstances.
It might be worth (if you can afford it) offering topay the normal amount for a further month or 2 to allow time for your ex to plan for the change.
it would be possible for your ex to apply to the court to seek to enforce the order, but if you are then able to provide proof to the court (a) of the change in your circumstances and (b) that you informed her of this andwere making genuine efforts to resolve the issue with her then the court will be able to tak that into account in considering whether it is appropriate to enforce the arrears if/when you do reduce the amount.
However, As your son is 16 it is also worth working out what the total amount of mainte ace over the next 2 years is likely to be - and whether you are likely to be able to find new sources of income in that time.
it may be that it would be less expensive to contnue to pay than to apply to court. However, I would suggest that in that case, you consider paying monthly rathe than as a lump sum - after all, your son may leave chool earlier than you expect, and in any event that leaves your options open - if you carry on paying for the next 6 months you may then decide that you ned top apply to vary any way, if you haven''t found new contracts, wheras if you pay a lump sum you have paid it and it is gone!
Unfortuantely due to the age of the order, and the fact that you live overseas, applying to the CSA is not an option.
PS - it might be possible to atrrange for any hearing to be dealt with by your solicitor with you being available by phone, or for it to be done as a telphone hearing, if getting back to the UK is a problem.
I was considering paying for a few more months. My client invoices tend to take 45+ days to get to paid, so I still have an income for another couple of months and with luck I will find a new income source.
Neither she nor I are in particularly hard up. She remarried over 10 years ago and has nice house, good standard of living, but I don''t really accept the principle of paying with no income, as she had a good deal in the order.
The current maintenance is over 600 per month, so the maintenance for 2 years will be least 15K with RPI increases. There''s little chance, baring unforseen circumstances, that my son will leave school early.
What are typical costs in applying to the courts? I understand it''s that dreaded form E that would have to be filled our by both of us. Surely the cost of an application would have to be way less than the 15K.
Are there any simple online pages that can give some idea of the process one must follow and the actions to perform to make an application?