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stbx earns less than me and works part-time

  • humdrum
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16 Apr 12 #324351 by humdrum
Topic started by humdrum
stbx works part-time in a job that pays less than my job and far less than he could earn given qualifications. I used to work less hours but had to bump them up to nearly full-time when stbx gave up his job and I had to pay for everything. Marriage broke down completely at this point. I now have kids with me apart from the alternate weekend contact arrangement impossed by interim order. It is really hard-going with the hours of work and travel etc. I have no one who I can rely on locally and stbx is embittered and cannot cooperate over anything. I would love to be able to reduce my hours - rather be less stressed and accept the lower income. I asked my barrister what she thought the implications of this would be. She though I was suggesting it to get a better deal from the Ancillary Relief hearings by reducing my income in relation to his, got a bit outraged and more or less refused to advise me, but the reality is that I am really exhausted and everything is taking so long to move through the courts that it seems a bit much that I have to go on like this to avoid it looking like I am doing it for gain. Does anyone have any advice on this?

  • LittleMrMike
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17 Apr 12 #324372 by LittleMrMike
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Well now, where do I start ?

The basic principle is that a party to a divorce is expected to take reasonable steps to maximise his/her income. So in general, most divorcing men would be expected to take a full time job, as would a divorcing wife with no kids.

In general, where a party to a divorce has childcare responsibilities, then that consideration is likely to have a bearing on the issue of the number of hours they can be expected to work. There are, of course, exceptions ; I have always remembered going to London for legal seminars and meeting bright young things from the City who blithely talked about their '' morning nanny '' and '' afternoon nanny '' who made me think I must be living on Planet Zork.

People like me, who try to help people going through divorce ( and I''m long since retired and do this to stop my brain atrophying ) encounter divorcing spouses who, without wishing to be sexist, are usually men, who cut out all overtime, do their basic hours and no more, defer wage negotiations and postpone the implementation of salary rises, to reduce their spouse''s potential claims. The minute the ink is dry on the Absolute, overtime is resumed, salary rises are activated and it''s all a little too obvious. Judges are well aware of these '' knavish tricks '' and take a dim view of them, and the poor barrister often has to endure a penny lecture from the judge.

At the other end of the rainbow, there are divorcing spouses working enormously long hours which can''t possibly be sustained for more than a short period ; and I come across people like too. One gentleman I helped was a doctor and I told him, you''re doing too much, and you know better than I do that people who do that tend to finish up on your operating table, or even on a marble slab.

So you see, it all boils down a question of balance and what is reasonable. This is not an answer to your question ; but it may explain why your barrister threw a wobbler.

There is no reason why you can''t question why your husband only works part time and whether he could work full time if he wanted to. Same principle, in reverse.


  • Emma8485
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17 Apr 12 #324412 by Emma8485
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I would think too if your ex looked after the children previously while you worked as he only worked part time then this would also possibly justify reducing some of your hours.

I worked full time during my marriage, and continued to now, but I work from home and travel 2/3 days per week and earn signifciantly more than my ex. I arrange my travel around the kids going to their dads, but if i couldnt have done that then I may have had to reduce my hours as well.

This must be quite common in divorce cases where one person suddenly has to do all of the "working week" childcare?


  • sexysadie
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17 Apr 12 #324429 by sexysadie
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I also work full-time and have done so throughout. It is hard but it is probably best for you to stick with it if you possibly can. If you go part-time that can easily be twisted by your ex''s legal team and presented as a ploy to get a larger share of the property or escape financial obligations to him, as you have already seen. It will get easier as time goes on and things settle.

Best wishes,

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