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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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I currently pay my ex wife about £1,300 per month in spousal

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I currently pay my ex wife about £1,300 per month in spousal maintenance . We have been divorced for 6 years . She has sold the former matrimonial home and bought a new property mortgage free . She previously worked full time as a qualified nurse but has consistently refused to resume this and instead works part time as an unqualified nursing assistant . Our 3 children are all aged over 18 and I am supporting the youngest 2 who are at university . My ex wife contributes nothing . I am expecting to lose my job and retire and need to know whether I will still be required to pay her spousal maintenance post this . I have an income from rental properties which will not be enough to cover my monthly outgoings .
Many thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I would like to know whether I can be required to sell any assets I currently own to continue paying spousal maintenance even where I don't have any significant income
Hi, thanks for your question. I am a qualified family law solicitor.
If your financial circumstances are going to change and the effect of the continued spousal maintenance would cause you hardship, then you can make an application to court to vary the order. Most spousal maintenance clauses are not left open ended and there should be some sort of time-limit or provision for your ex-wife to maximise her earning potential - which she appears not to be doing. Given her ability to now be housed mortgage free, and you solely supporting the children, there should be consideration for there being a clean break.
Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding this.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi , could I be required to sell assets in order to continue with these maintenance payments ? At the time of the divorce the assets were split 70/30 in favour of my ex wife , who also received half of my pension . I have since accumulated further assets and want to make sure she cannot have any rights either over these in terms of requiring me to dispose of them so I can use the proceeds to continue with her maintenance payments . Can they also insist that I continue working , I am aged 55
Thanks - was there a clean break in respect of the capital assets?
I highly doubt that you will need to sell your assets to meet maintenance payments, especially if your ex-wife is not making efforts to maximise her earning potential. Given your change of circumstances you should be considering an application to court to vary / discharge maintenance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi , yes there was - it was agreed by way of a Consent order and my understanding was that the asset distribution was final and could not be revisited . I just need to be satisfied that as I am no longer working and have a hugely reduced income , that I couldn't be required to sell assets to meet future maintenance payments . Does a court only look at income when assessing an ability to pay maintenance in such circumstances ?
The court will look at your income and your needs, as well as her income and needs, and she needs to demonstrate that she is maximising her earning potential.
The court will not expect you to sell assets to meet maintenance payments as this needs to come only from your income.
Again you should be urgently submitting an application to reduce or discharge your spousal maintenance liability given your change of circumstances.
Harris and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Harris , thanks for that , just one more question . If I was to receive a lump sum equivalent to say 12 months salary as part of my retirement package , would my ex wife be able to make any claim on this ? would it be regarded as income ?RgdsRob Layton
It will not be regarded as income but as capital given that it would likely be a significant lump sum payment and it will need to be disclosed as part of negotiations if you expect to receive it in the next 12 months.