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Variation of spousal maintenance

  • Crashball
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19 Apr 12 #325062 by Crashball
Topic started by Crashball
My ex wife & I seperated & divorced 7 years ago.
I have a combined child&spousal Consent Order against me to provide £1000pm until she remarries or dies.

She is now cohabiting with her partner (who she started having an affair with during our marriage) in our old matrimonial home with our 12 year old daughter.

This affair has now been ongoing for over 7 years, and they have recently bought a second holiday home together for over £500,000.

I have written to her, and asked her to consider a downward variation of the spousal maintenance ( about £500pm )

Unsurprisingly she has told me to get lost, and has also refused to consider mediation.

I have been advised that I would stand a high chance of getting the spousal maintenance written off ( grey vs gre ) BUT it will cost at least £3000 to get to the FDR via court, and over £20,000 if she fights it all the way.

Surely there must be a cheper way that I can get rid of this millstone around my neck ?

I have no problem paying child maintenance, but I totally resent being ripped off, & having to continue pay spousal maintenance.

All advice appreciated.

  • LittleMrMike
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19 Apr 12 #325086 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
Well, crashball, you touch a raw nerve here. because having paid SM for 28 years, I have certain views about it which would come as no great surprise if you knew what they were.
Let''s deal with the cohabitation issue. You know about Grey v Grey, obviously. It''s obvious that you recognise that you will have to support your daughter and I''m sure you would not disagree.
I have always warned men in your situation something like this. Cohabitations can break down. If that happens, and the SM order is discharged altogether, the wife could be on her uppers. She can''t claim against her current partner, and she would have lost her right to claim off you. So, given that judges are reluctant to discharge SM completely ( because it is irreversible ) it may perhaps be better to go for a reduction ( perhaps to a nominal figure only ) rather than a total discharge. But that is for you to decide.
As a first step, I''d recommend you discuss with your solicitor the possibility of applying for a CSA assessment for your daughter. It''s possible that the order provides that if the CSA make an assessment, the assessment, whatever it is, will be deducted from the global figure. In the short term there may be little or no advantage, but for a number of reasons, there could still be some medium term advantage. Send me a PM if you would like me to explain my reasons for that statement.
My understanding of the position is that applications for variation are cost- sensitive, meaning there is a risk that the unsuccessful party could be ordered to pay costs. You will need to discuss this with your solicitor. One has to say that there are other risks associated with variations too. The Court will look at the whole situation afresh. Her situation may have improved ; but then again so might yours. It is possible in theory to apply to a reduction and get an increase, or vice versa.
But the fact that your request was rejected out of hand probably tells you something. If she thought there was a chance of getting more, she might at least have been willing to discuss it.
I think you might want to discuss with your solicitor the possibility of writing a polite letter saying that it is appropriate that the spousal maintenance be reviewed and suggesting a mutual exchange of form E''s. If that is refused, and you go to Court and win, you improve your chances of getting a costs order against her. Just a thought.
You have to balance what it will cost in the short term against the long term benefits. As matters stand, if you do nothing, you will have to pay the combined figure until your wife dies or re-marries, and she will not want to marry him for obvious reasons.
I would need to see the order before I could advise for sure. It boils down to what Hamlet said, about bearing the evils that you have rather than fly to others that you know not of.


  • Crashball
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20 Apr 12 #325212 by Crashball
Reply from Crashball
Hi Mike
many thanks for your advice.

I will drop you a message about the csa assesment.

I forgot to mention that my consent order says that the global maintenance is to be reduced by the csa amount when my daughter reaches the age of 18.

The spousal element then continues until my x remarries or dies.

However, this all depends on what I am earning when my daughter reaches the age of 18.

If I am out of a job - then it doesn''t reduce at all !!


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