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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33316
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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A court order maintenance was made against me

Customer Question

Hi a court order for child maintenance was made against me in 2007 for £250 a month . Which I have never once missed a payment . My daughter is now 18 years old & still in part time college education for a further few months . My circumstances have recently changed & my ex wife is taking me to court for one months maintenance I haven't paid being £250 .can the court order set in 2007 still be enforced ? Many thanks
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further information firstWhen does the order say maintenance should stop (exact wording)How many hours a week is your daughter in college?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The exact wording is at the rate of £250 per month each such payments shall continue until each child respectively
attains the age of 17 or
Ceases full time secondary education whichever shall be the later .
My daughter is in college 8 hours per week
I have never missed a payment for both my daughters & my eldest being 21 now that maintenance of a further £250 per month has all been paid .
Many thanks
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have to appear at the County court on 9th March to answer a judgement for £250 . I have re married & now have 4 dependant step children living me with me & just couldn't meet this £250 per month any longer .
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
Which month is this meant to relate to?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
October 2015 & Nov 2015 I wrote to my ex & explained that as my circumstances had changed I could only afford to pay £125 per month & felt with phoebes age & the fact she had a full time job & a very part time college college it was a fair amount my ex has no other dependants is engaged & both of them have extremely high incomes . She then served the papers on me for the 2x £125 she had been paid less over the two months
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
That should read part time job
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Phoebe has a part time job my daughter .
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
What is your Gross income - and are you certain it is 8 hours in college?Has your ex taken you back to the Family Court?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am confirming her college hours it's certainly no more than 12 hours max . No she just served county court summons to me for just the £250 no involvement with the family court
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am a company director so I am paid in dividends which differs month to month . My salary is £11,000 gross per annum
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
How much did you take in dividends last year?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
What I really want to know is can the court enforce this order still ? As from what I have read since the CSA was formed , child maintenance orders from prior to this were no longer legal & you could opt out . I have had to give every aspect of my financial status during my divorce & I am not prepared to do this again to the courts . If this order is still enforceable I will pay the amount owed & not waste my time at the courts , although I do believe that the offer of £125 per month was acceptable . Also if I pay her the £250 owed can she just keep taking me back to court for the remaining months until my daughter finishes college ? Which is June this year .
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
I am afraid that the order is indeed still enforceable since your daughter is still in Secondary Education.The CMS (new CSA) will only takeover if they are asked to do so - and the amount you pay would be 12% of 84% your gross income (including dividends) The discount is for your step children.There will be further discount if your daughter spends more than 52 nights a year with youIf you wish to lower the payments then you need to apply to the courtYour ex has chosen the wrong way to enforce the Order - but she is entitled to the monies.Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Many thanks for your advise . Would you advise I just pay her the money before it goes to court then on the 9th March ? She is a very vindictive person can she just keep applying to courts again for the extra money which will be owed until my daughter leaves education ? Can I please ask would this be when she sits her last exam or when she leaves college for study leave ?
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
Since she has chosen the wrong method of enforcement you could hold out and she would have to start again in the family court - but she will win eventually - so the choice is yours.You will have to pay until the month of the end of the college term.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you so much
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
You are most welcome
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Can I please just ask, the original maintenance order was issued in a county court as part of the financial settlement of the divorce . It wasn't the family court. Can she enforce this order at the County court or only Family court ?
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
The new "family courts" are extensions of the County Courts and are essentially still the same -
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Which way should she have enforced the order ? could you explain please . Don't really understand when you say family courts are the same as County court but she would have to start over again with proceedings in a family court ?
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.
From what you have said your ex has sued you using the Small Claims Process for the money she says you owe her.This is so that she can get a Court Order she can enforce against youIn fact she already had the Court Order and should instead simply have applied to enforce it in one of the many ways available - and instead of using the Small Claims Court side of the County Court she should have used the family sideClare

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