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ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1440
Experience:  Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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My friend is a 51 year old retired man and is currently

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Hello. My friend is a 51 year old retired man and is currently going through a divorce. He has 2 daughters one aged 21 who is working full time and the 2nd is 18 years old working part time whilst studying at collage with intentions to go to university next year.
he currently receives £1500 per month from his pension fund and has a small income from a dog walking service which he does to fill in his spare time. His wife is in full time employment yet she is demanding £1200 per month maintenance. They currently own a property worth around £350,000 and is bought outright with no mortgage. His Solicitor is advising him to pay his wife the £1200 a month she is demanding until they get to court which could be months away. Surely this cannot be the right advice for him
Welcome to Just Answer
I am a Solicitor and will assist you.
On the face of what you have said - this does seem a large amount.
Please may I ask:
- what are your friends current living expenses?
- how much are the mortgage and bills on the matrimonial home?
- how much is the wife's income?
Kind Regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There is no mortgage on the property as it is paid for and his wife earns around £30,000 PA in the control room of our local police station. My friend has moved out the marital home and is currently renting a property for £500.00 per month. Without knowing the actual cost of bills on the marital home my friend (he's called Paul) now has the same expenditure on his rented property. His main concern is that he has been advised by his solicitor who he is currently paying £200 per hour, to pay his wife the £1200 she is demanding because if he doesn't she then may apply for an "order" through the court which could cost him thousands in the long term
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Did you receive my reply?
My apologies- just been in a meeting. I have received your response and will apply now.
Thank you for your response and for your patience.
It is correct that either party, whilst the financial proceedings are ongoing - can apply to the court for an interim financial order. This used to known as Maintenance Pending Suit. This is an application to the court for interim maintenance and it continues whilst the main case is being decided.
The courts power to make an order for MPS is contained in Section 22 of the Matrimonial Causes Act and the court has the power to make an order requiring either party to make to the other such periodical payments as it thinks reasonable.
The Matrimonial Causes Act does not provide guidance on what is an appropriate level of interim provision. The only relevant phrase is ‘as the court thinks reasonable’. The courts have provided guidance in a number of cases. The principles in those cases were considered in TL v ML in which the following guidelines were set out:

the sole criterion in MCA 1973, s 22 is ‘reasonableness’, which is synonymous with fairness

a very important factor in determining fairness is the marital standard of living, although that is not to say that the exercise is merely to replicate that standard

in every maintenance pending suit application, there should be a specific budget for that application that excludes capital or long-term expenditure, which is more apt to be considered at a final hearing

the budget should be examined critically in every case so to exclude forensic exaggeration

where the sworn statement or Form E disclosed by the paying party is deficient, the court should not hesitate to make any robust assumptions about their ability to pay—the court is not confined by what the payer says about their resources and in such circumstances it should err in favour of the payee

where the paying party has historically been supported by an outsider and where the payer is asserting that the third party has curtailed the financial support, but where the position is unclear or ambiguous, then the court is justified in assuming that the third party will continue to supply the financial support, at least until the final hearing
It is correct that these types of applications tend to be expensive. If they are left until a late stage in the proceedings, the costs of making such an application can outweigh the financial benefit gained in the few months leading to the conclusion of proceedings.
Although it is suggested in TL v ML that ‘reasonableness’ is akin to ‘fairness’, some judges take a relatively parsimonious view of maintenance pending suit applications and will look at meeting essential needs as opposed to a more generous interpretation of financial requirements.
If your Paul really does not have the ability to pay as this will leave him in a position whereby he cannot simply afford to live – then it is likely to be seen as unreasonable to make an order that would put him in such a position. If Paul has no other recourse to any other capital – then he will simply have no choice but defend such an application. Paul needs to provide his wifes solicitors with information as to his financial situation – to prove that he is just managing on a reasonable budget and that he does not have the ability to be able to pay.
Kind Regards
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your advice today. It really has helped a lot.Kind Regards
Your very welcome
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