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Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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My wife and I are separated and I agreed verbally to give her

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My wife and I are separated and I agreed verbally to give her £250 a month. I have been paying this for 2 years. Am I legally bound to pay her this money. She has asked for it to be increased to £450 per month. Do I have to pay it ?
Hi thank you for your question, I will try to assist you with this.
Can you please advise what this payment is for and a little more information regarding your circumstances/separation with regard to division of assets (i.e. did you own a matrimonial home? What happened to this? are there any children? etc).
Many thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

In january 2013 I separated from my wife after I met another lady and who I wished to be my partner. I left the my family home to live elsewhere and the family home was sold and the proceeds divided 50/50.

I agreed verbally to give my wife £250 a month to help with day to day expenses etc. We did not do a separation form or a financial arrangement. My wife started an online divorce but this fell through because the company she was dealing with went bankrupt. It was then decided that I would start divorce proceedings after 2 years separation.

We had been separated for 2 years on january 18th this year so I asked if she would consent to the divorce she then started to say she wanted £450 a month and part of my personnal pension and when I get my state pension in february 2016 she wanted some of that.

My two sons are grow up and married. No financial agreement is in place and my wife was not keen on a consent order as she did not want her finances looked at. She is 64 and is receiving her state pension.

I would like to know if I am legally bound to continue paying the £250 per month and do I have to her demand of £450 per month

many thanks

Nick May

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I should also say that at the time I had just taken voluntary severance from my job and I gave my wife monies in excess of 13k which was about 50% of my lump sum for severance.


Hi Nick
Thank you for your replies.
Essentially what you are paying is Spousal Maintenance. This is a regular payment made by a (former) husband to their ex-partner. However, this is only usually paid where your wife cannot support herself financially without it.
The amount paid would depend on:
How much she needs to live on
How much income she already has
How much she could potentially earn in the future
In some very rare situations, an ex-wife may receive more spousal maintenance than they need to support themselves if they have, for example, given up a highly-paid career to bring up the children.
It would appear that you have divided up the majority of the main matrimonial assets already on a 50/50 basis. In those circumstances, I would have recommended both parties went ahead for a clean break order - i.e. no further payments to be made.
You really need to sort out the financial matters properly by way of a proper agreement.
You don't say if your wife gave up work or a career or never worked to take care of the family throughout your relationship, this can obviously have impact upon a claim on your pension.
I would recommend that you advise your wife that you are wanting a clean break and given the informal agreement and payments made thus far, you intend to cease all further payments unless she provides evidence to support her claim for spousal maintenance.
I would further suggest that if you have decided that your marriage is at an end that you proceed with divorce proceedings. Face to face legal advice is advisable on this issue with you discussing all the financial aspects of the marriage so the solicitor has all the facts available to advise you fully.
I hope this assists. If you have any further questions, please ask.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks for your reply, I have one or two further questions please.

One of my wife's big worries is that her personal pension is not that big

so she wants more from me to give her more money. She seems to think she can just ask and I have to give it to her.

She had a good job when she returned to work after our boys were grown up which gave her a salary more than mine but she decided to give that up to start her own business. Whether that business made any money I do not know as she has always very quiet about her money. That business eventually was wound up During that time I supposed her as a husband does.

When the business folded she decided to do a PhD at coventry university and took an unpaid post there. Once again I supposed her as a husband does.

In both cases she did not contribute to a pension. If in the event of the divorce going to court would this count in my favour please.

Can you clarify also that although I give her £250 it is voluntary and not part of an agreement that it is called spousal maintenance. Can I say no now she is asking for £450 as there is no financial agreement.

many thanks


Hi Nick
The payment you make even though it is voluntary and without legal agreement is essentially spousal maintenance. You can say no to this increase (and indeed you could cease the payment right now) as you are making this payment without a legal order. There is no automatic right to this.
I can see you are trying to be reasonable about this but there has to be reasonable conduct from both parties. It is simply unreasonable of your wife to demand these payments without wanting to disclose her financial position.
Without having full financial disclosure for both parties I cannot say what the court would order, however, the court would have regard to both parties conduct, financial investment into the matrimonial assets and the lump sums that you have paid thus far.
If you go forward with the divorce, you should get legal representation to assist you with the financial provisions and seek a clean break order.
If your wife has a significantly lower sum to fund her through retirement than you, if the parties cannot agree on the financial position then the court may intervene and can make an order to even out the financial position between you and your wife, be that either by a lump sum payment for a clean break or a figure for spousal maintenance but the courts often prefer the clean break orders as there is less likelihood of the matter then having to return to court.
I hope this assists. If you need any clarification please let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.

As I say I have been separated for 2 years, if I wait until we have been separated five years I believe I can apply for a divorce without her consent?

Do I have to make a financial agreement then or leave it to her ?


Hi Nick
It is not a matter of waiting for 5 years or now. Waiting 5 years without consent is simply one of the other grounds for divorce and of course you can do this - but your wife could still delay any divorce over financial issues.
You could petition for divorce now on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour if your wife refuses to co-operate and accept divorce on the ground of 2 years with consent.
However, that said, regardless of the ground, one way or another you will both have to deal with the financial affairs, either by agreement or through the court.
Finalising the divorce does not automatically deal with any of the financial issues. A financial settlement can be dealt with separately. You should be aware that spouses financial claims against one another do not terminate unless there is an Order of the Court dealing with finances or the spouse (i.e. your wife) seeking the financial settlement re-marries or passes away. That means that if it is not settled your wife could potentially seek a financial settlement from you many years after the divorce concludes.
Therefore, I would suggest it is important to try and reach a financial settlement and have it properly approved by the Court, particularly if you are wanting a clean break order. But as I said, this something that will need to be discussed fully once disclosure of both parties finances is done, hence my recommendation for engaging a solicitor to assist you.
Kasare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

many thanks Kas