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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34895
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 separated from my wife in 2001, it was her decision. We separated

Customer Question

I separated from my wife in 2001, it was her decision. We separated amicably, We had a 50-50 share of the house which she remained in. we have 2 children and when i moved out I continued to go round to the house to sort the children out for school in order that she could continue to get to work on time. This I did for 3 years until I bought my own house.
I continued to pay £200 into the joint account to help pay off the old endowment policies and provide financial support to help with child maintenance. Through the whole time up to the present she has received all the child benefit, my eldest sons benefit would have stopped 4 years ago, my youngest this August.

Since I had my own house, childcare has been shared 50/50.
We finally divorced in 2009. Given the separation was amicable and everything had been sorted out I did the divorce myself which she was happy for me to do.
There was no legal document to do with money drawn up either when we separated or divorced.
Now that my eldest is currently in employment and one endowment policy has finished I contacted her to indicate I wished to reduce but not stop the standing order.
She informed me that the £200 was maintenance and given on the basis that she made no claim on my pension.
I have been in the NHS for 32 years so have a good pension.,
She was in the NHS, was part time when the children were very young and then moved to the private healthcare sector to pursue her chosen career. I reduced my working hours finishing early twice a week in order to pick the children up from school. My parents picked them up once a week.
The question is, has she a legal right, if I reduce my monthly £200 payments to make a claim on my pension
If the £200 is in fact deemed to be maintenance for my ex-wife, is there a time limit on these payments- eg my retirement or would they have to continue until l I die?.
Finally, given her comments about reviewing her claim on my pension if the payments are reduced/ stopped, If I continue to pay £200, would this make any possible claim on my pension invalid
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
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 happened to the proceeds of the Endowment Policies.
How much do you each earn?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i have replied to this question. The first endowment policy was given to the eldest son apart from some money which my ex and I had an equal amount. The second policy matures in about three years and will go to our youngest son.

I earn approx £56000. I do not know what my ex earns as she works for Prior healthcare but she is a clinical specialist nurse in fertility so I suppose she will earn around £ 35000 but that is a guess

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
The starting point is that in the absence of a Court Order your ex cannot force you to pay her this money - whatever it is meant to be for.
It is still open to her to apply for the financial issues to be considered by the court - but the difference in your incomes is not large enough to make spouse maintenance a viable risk
The Pension issue is less clear since you do not know what her pension position is.
She certainly can ask the court for permission to make a bleated application for a Pension Sharing Order - how successful that would be there is no way of telling
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further assistance
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

apologies for the delay-unavoidable.

1st- maintenance- for life or until retirement

2nd if i continue to pay£200 would that still mean any verbal agreement we may have made remains valid and no claim can therefore be made on my pensiln

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
It is unlikely that Spouse maintenance will be ordered - if it is then it is likely to be for life.
The verbal agreement has no force whatsoever