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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33953
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I wish to apply for a variation of the maintenance payments

Resolved Question:

I wish to apply for a variation of the maintenance payments stated in the Consent Order for my divorce 12 years ago as I am now retired. What is the principle of maintenance payments to an ex spouse? Is it equal income to both partners irrespective of employment, investment and other actions since the divorce?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What income do you each have and how much do you have to pay?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The answer to this is complicated as my business is winding down and I now earn approx. 1/3 of my income at the time of divorce. This will shortly just be State Pension. My ex wife, I'm not sure, probably just pension. I am more interested in the principle as opposed to someone telling me how much the maintenance agreed 12 years ago of £725 p.m. could be reduced. I'm sure this will require the attention of a solicitor and court. I would really like to establish whether the maintenance payment should leave us both with an equal income. I have always earned good money but my wife did not work once we started a family, we have 5 grown up children.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Spouse maintenance is needs based - so it is a matter of assessing what her reasonable needs are and what income she has from which to meet those needs.
In your case there will also be consideration of what private pension income you will have and whether or not there was a pension sharing order made at the time of the divorce
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33953
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

There was a pension sharing order at the time of the divorce. All assets were split equally except my ex wife received 70% of the house proceeds as I was working and could therefore supposedly afford a mortgage. The maintenance was then calculated in order to give us both equal disposable income. I assume from your answer that 'reasonable needs' means that my ex wife's needs are the same as mine and therefore I should assume I should always pay maintenance to equalise our income. In other words, nothing I do until I die will ever be mine it will always be shared with my ex wife.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
No not at all - there is no requirement for you to have equal incomes at all.
However without some idea of incomes it is impossible to give a netter guide
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your help Clare. I'm assuming my ex wife's income consists of full basic state pension based on my earnings record plus whatever she gets from the her private pension that was split 50/50 at the time of the divorce. My income is now state pension plus additional pension which is £222.76 p.w. in total. I also have a SIPP, as I invested in this with my original pension split, but 2 of the 3 companies with whom I have an investment have gone into administration (forestry products).

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
How much are you having to pay your ex?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

£725 per month.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Was no provision made in the order for a reduction when you reached pension age?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes there was 'and upon the parties agreeing that the said periodical payments order shall be reviewed upon the Petitioner's retirement from full time employment.' This is why I am seeking the principle upon which the payments should be reviewed. If my ex wife agrees to a discussion about this then I need to know the basis upon which I need to negotiate. For example, if my wife's income is x and my income is x plus say £5,000 p.a. should we agree that I pay her £2,500 p.a? In other words, because this was the principle upon which we agreed the original maintenance (our net disposable incomes were equalised by the maintenance payments) should this principle be continued into retirement? Should the maintenance payments ensure that we are equally well (badly) off until death. Whatever I do until my death must be shared with my ex wife?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
In fact there is no such requirement and provided her reasonable needs can be met from her pensions you do not need to share your extra with her - you are in fact allowed to have a higher income than she does
- and she too could have made alternative plans to better her position
If the difference is in fact that slender then it is more likely that you may be ordered to pay her a modest lump sum in full and final settlement of her spousal maintenance claims
Clare

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