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familylawexpert, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 311
Experience:  Substantial experience (14yrs +) in divorce, financial cases, cohabitation, pre-nuptial agreements and civil partnerships.
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HI My new wife was divorced 6 years ago and child maintenance

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My new wife was divorced 6 years ago and child maintenance payments were set at £1325 per month (for 2 children) and this figure was arrived at taking into account all other financial settlements, including a nominal £1 per annum spousal maintenance payment, no claim on the ex husbands pension and the ex husband retaining a legal and financial interest in the ex matrimonial home.

The ex husband now wants to reduce his child maintenance payments to a figure calculated on the Child Maintenance Service calculator, this would drop the payments to £625.00 per month.

I have spoken to the CMS and they state that if the ex husband applies to have his payments reduced their decision will overide the Consent Order, not withstanding the payments were agreed at based on more than one factor.

If the ex husband is able to do this does this mean that the whole Consent Order becomes invalidated, or can be re-negotiated / taken back to court?

To me this appears to contravene common law if only one part of the Consent Order, strongly in favour of one party is able to be changed.

Thank you and i look forward to your reply

Neil Horne

My name is ***** ***** I can help with your question.

It is correct that from a year onwards after the date of the order, either party can apply to the CMS/CSA and the new child support calculation will override the Court order. It is something that your wife should have been advised about at the time of reaching her original agreement.

All is not lost necessarily though - as she is still in receipt of a nominal order for spousal maintenance which can also be potentially altered. ie increased. Your wife could tell her ex that if he pushes ahead with his CMS application, she will apply to the Court for an increase in spousal maintenance payments to make up the difference. Such an application would mean him having to make full financial disclosure again, which he would probably rather not do. It may be possible to negotiate something on that front, but if not she could just press ahead with that application and ask the Court for help.

I hope that is helpful.

Actually, I must take the second half of my answer back. Your wife's spousal maintenance payments were, of course, automatically dismissed upon her marriage to you. Sorry about that.

Do you know the approximate income of the ex husband?


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

HI Mac


His income is approx £80,000 and according to the CMS calculator the amount he should pay is £612 per month. His new wife is a teacher earning approx £25- £30,000 per annum


I understand about the spousal allowance but can the rest of the Consent Order be re-negotiated as he is trying to remove one of the main clauses, i.e. Pension Order, his equity share in the ex marital home, as the whole Consent Order was negotiated based on each of the areas of concern, so to be able to renage on one area without consideration to the other areas would appear to be against the concepts of fairness which underpins English Law.





Hello Neil,

I am afraid that there is little that can be done.

It is not really a question of his reneging on one area - as both his lawyer and your wife's would have known at the time of the negotiation that the child maintenance could only be guaranteed at that time for one year. If your wife was not advised of that at the time, then she should consider making a formal complaint. There are ways of attempting to draft into the agreement a mechanism to try and mitigate the effect of the ex-husband taking exactly this step - it is, after all, not actually that unusual (which is why she should have received advice about it).

In short, there is no possibility of revisiting the Consent Order, unless the ex-husband voluntarily agrees of course.

I'm sorry not to be the bearer of better tidings.

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