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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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My husband has a son (aged 17) who is living with us since

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My husband has a son (aged 17) who is living with us since April, and his ex is living in the USA, so we cant claim through CMS but need to get a court order. She is very difficult and I have tried to negotiate, but she is not wanting to pay anything to us. She says she will pay it all to her son, but he says that he does not want that because he will get too anxious (and he is undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression). She had a history of abuse with him, and he is worried that she would not pay and would make it conditional on him having to do what she wants, like she did with his sister. In the consent order, provision was made for the eldest two children, who have now grown up, but surprisingly, not for the youngest child! We are just wanting to claim the equivalent of CMS, and were wondering how difficult this is to do? Do we vary the court order if there was no provision for one of the children? Also, we were considering asking for the provision to be till the end of uni. (This is because their mother is refusing to pay anything towards the adult daughter's university, and made it so difficult for her at university in the USA by insisting that she would not sign the financial forms unless she visited her every holiday etc, that she needed psychological treatment. :-( Eventually, we persuaded her not to drop out but to apply to uni in the UK where we could help her, and this is what she has done. Her mother is refusing to support her in any way, and we are concerned that she will not support her son at all when he goes to university.) Will asking for provision for him to go through university complicate the process of asking for child support or should we do it all in one go?
Also, in the consent order, there is not a clean break, so my husband will need to pay her £81/week for the rest of his life, even though they spit the pensions in half. At the time of the consent order, she quit her job, had no career, and was not earning anything. She now has trained and is working as a teacher, earning $54,000 us per annum (almost as much as m husband, and more than my husband if the spousal maintenance is considered), so her income is considerably more than it was. She has no children living with her and I believe has paid of her house completely now. My husband's situation has significantly changed, as we met and got married just over a year ago, their son is living with us full time and my daughter lives with us full time too. He is 54 years old, and so could retire in 6 months. We have heard that university pensions might get frozen, so he might need to retire to get his pension, but coudnt afford to do it and pay spousal maintenance, and support his daughter at uni, etc. My understanding is that is is very difficult to vary spousal periodic payments, but that judges should also still try to aim for a clean break. Would this be able to be looked at the same child as the child support, or is it best to keep it separate? If it is simpler to keep it separate and get the child support sorted out quickly to get payments started. She has a history of being extremely difficult to negotiate with, were not able to do mediation, and apparently went through 7 judges and 5 law firms in getting their original court order, with a judge finally ordering that she was not allowed to delay any longer and any issues she wanted to bring up could only go through him. So my question is about the best way to go about having the spousal maintenance looked at with the view to being able to have a clean break.
Thank you for your question.
My name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
When was the last Order made?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
There was only one order which covered the child and spousal maintenance, although there was no mention of Nat s name in the finance order, but the two older girls had specific provision.
His father was the parent with residence for Nat , and the girls were resident with their mother (for child benefit). His ex moved to the USA in 2012. Nat went to live with her in sept 2013 to try American high school but came back at Easter because his mother was abusive towards him. She has never paid child maintenance. The youngest two were full time with Patrick for a year before she moved to the USA, but the order wasn't changed because he didn't want to rock the boat or for her to get abusive.
Your husband needs to make an application (to the Court that dealt with the original Order) to vary the Order with regard to the Spouse maintenance.
The fact that his ex is now earning a substantial sum and none of the children live with her should be sufficient to persuade the Court that this payment is no longer relevant.
At the same time he should apply for child maintenance for his son - but the application MUST be made before the child is 18
There is no point in splitting the applications - if you are going to fight - fight once!
In addition his daughter could make an application under the Children Act for an Order for maintenance whilst she is at University.
Of course the draw back with the Orders for the children is that you will have to go through the REMP process to enforce them
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