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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35054
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 have an order to pay my wife spousal maintenance foe 5 years.

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I have an order to pay my wife spousal maintenance foe 5 years. The children are 20 and 22. She has been co habiting for 2 1/2 years in her property with a guy and is now set to buy (or he may be buying) another larger property which they plan to move into. They plan to keep her other property. I want to stop paying her the maintenance on the basis she has effectively remarried and/ or is living as man and wife. I'm effectively supporting their combined lifestyle whilst I'm struggling to get back on my feet following the divorce. Is this possible/arguable.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
When was the Order made and why?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I should say it was a consent order very shortly before the hearing in approx 2011. The payments started in the Sept 2011. In addition to the maintenance. The order stipulated the payments would stop if she remarried. Whilst she has not technically remarried she has been cohabiting for 2 1/2 years as I mentioned previously. Her partner was also recently divorced and left the family home to his wife who I understand was the main earner and therefore he probably received a capital sum. His children are in their twenties as well. He didn't have a house it live in and moved in with my ex wife.

As well as the maintenance (£3k a month) I'm paying my wife 2 lump sum capital payments of £25 k in July 14 and July 16. I should add my wife earns over £100 k a year and is in full time employment.

Thanks Damian
Was the spousal maintenance a way of paying a lump sum by instalments?
Why did you not add a Cohabitation restriction to the order?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No but the 2 further lump sums are a way of making a capital payment. I paid her £100k at the time.

I don't know why a co habitee clause wasn't included.

If some one is effectively living as man and wife, sharing income, expenses etc isn't that marriage in effect.
How much was she earning at the time the order was made?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
About 80k. I suppose it would help to understand whether I have arguments that the maintenance should stop or be reduced.
I agreed to pay it on the basis she was a single woman and indeed she emphasised that even though she was in a relationship at the time. At least in that relationship her partner had his own property and whilst they were clearly boyfriend/girlfriend they could say they were not cohabiting. In the present situation I feel as though I'm paying maintenance to my wife as a couple and that has been the case for over 2 years. Recently I heard they were buying a larger second house and I just thought that it was ridiculous that I was paying her maintenance in those circumstances. Thanks Damian
If she was earning that much why on earth did she need spouse maintenance at all?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I was earning about £400k but I took on a huge amount of joint family debt which frankly I haven't been able to pay down and wanted to keep the family home so borrowed some money to pay her £100k towards her equity. Perhaps I lost my nerve at the time of the hearing but equally I did want to keep the family home.

I have actually moved to Dubai in order to cope and get myself out of a difficult financial situation including most immediately paying her £25k next month. I want to get on top of the financial situation over the next 2 years and by the time I pay her another £25k.

But I look at her life with the new partner and think I am funding it at least in part and it doesn't feel fair at all. I'm trying to find out about the new .property 'they have bought' which I'm told is a big place in North Yorkshire although it requires some work.

She has lived in a smaller property with her new partner in Helmsley North Yorkshire which she took out of the divorce. She is keeping this and plans to rent it.

It's probably a bit of a strange one and my family and friends think it's crazy!
At the time the Order was made was she with this partner?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No she was with another guy who was quite wealthy but she distanced herself from him for the purposes of the hearing. He was quite wealthy and owned his own property and they weren't cohabiting but clearly in a relationship. The present partner came on the scene about Feb 2012.
I think I've found a link to the house she is now buying which I will send to you. To complete the picture I had to remove my wife from the mortgage of the old family home which I have not been able to do due to my financial position, credit worthiness, difficulty to get a mortgage. Although she has complained about this particularly in the context of her buying a new property I said I can't do it but I will as soon as I can and in the meantime if she does look to enforce that part of the order I will revisit the financial provisions generally now she is a very steady relationship and co habiting etc I've told the idea of her and her partner buying a second home whilst I'm trying to get myself back on my feet is unfair/ ridiculous. The fact she hasn't done anything about this (and still been able to buy another house) is telling. Thanks damian ps if it would help to speak let me know and I can call you or I can give you my number. Thanks
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
This is the house I believe.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry this one is the correct one.
Your way forward is to apply to the court to vary the existing Order on the basis of her Co-habitation
This is done using a Form A available here
and paying the fee of £245.
Spouse maintenance is needs based and frankly it seems unlikely that your ex will be able to justify it continuing in the circumstances
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you