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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34892
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 would like to know if my chances of obtaining spousal maintenance

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I would like to know if my chances of obtaining spousal maintenance from my husband are diminished if I am only applying for it at the time of our divorce and not before? My husband is arguing that I do not need it as I have not claimed for it from him thus far?
HIThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further information firstHow long have you been separated?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have been separated for over 3 years, but we have been in negotiations with solicitors regarding a settlement / maintenance for the last year and have not got anywhere
How have you managed financially until now?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have my own business and have been receiving some benefits to help with my income, however this has been steadily decreasing over the last few years due to me re-investing in a re-brand of the business alongside studying for an Open University degree.
Are there any children involved?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have a child Imogen aged 17, not biologically my husbands but he brought her up from aged 4-14 and she took his name when we married. She is a child of the family but he refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for her since we split.
How much do you each earn?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My husband has his own business (in partnership) & trades as a Commercial Painting & decorating company (Ltd) On his last financial disclosure it was stated he paid himself £50k in dividends in one year. The same year I earned approx £9k as a self employed Freelance Photographer. My earnings for the next year are forecast to go down whilst my husbands have increased.
What capital assets are there?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No Capital Assets, we rented at the time and had our own vehicles through each of our respective businesses. There are no pensions or savings to declare.
What income could you earn with your qualifications if you worked full time
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am back to working full-time on my business but I have seen a drop in business due to the re-brand & also the fact I have been studying. If I achieve an MA I can look to lecture at University in my subject and earn £50-60k per year, potentially alongside my business.
Yes but if you HAD to earn the most you could how much COULD you earn
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry I don't follow? Can you re-phrase your question?
If you had to get a job tomorrow that paid the most you could earn - how much would that be?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It depends what field you are talking about but I worked in travel before setting up my own business, however I have been out of that industry for 6 years but prior to that I was earning 18-20k ... I could possibly go back to it but it would be difficult. I'm not experienced enough as any other type of Photographer other than as a Social / Portrait Photographer and these jobs just don't exist on the payroll anymore... My degree could help potentially but not towards securing paid employment in my line of business, that's why I am Freelance. Does that answer your question?
Yes that is what I needed to know - thank youHave yo applied for child maintenance for your daughter?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No according to my husband the CSA don't believe he has a claim (I have yet to speak to them and should have done so a long time ago) but knowing he isn't the biological father I thought there was no point? We have been trying to agree on a settlement for my daughter as a child of the family, which she is. I do believe if this does go to Court I will have a claim on this basis, but she is now 17 and time is running out, although she will be in full time education till she is 18.5 years at least.
The CSA cannot help you but the courts far has the financial application actually reached
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We exchanged our Financial declarations approx 6 months ago and since then haven't been able to agree on a settlement, although I have only requested a payment for my daughter, not for myself. We started mediation after my husband threatened Court action following his request for a MIAM certificate, which he needs to pursue Court action. I was hopeful we could reach an agreemnt through mediation, particularly as I was granted legal Aid for it. He came to one session, was asked to produce his latest set of company accounts (to Aug 15) then decided not to continue. We have a date for the first hearing on 1st June.
He has tied you up in knots of worry BUT he has done you a favour by issuing the applictaionWhen is your daughter 18?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My daughter is 18 in January but she is doing A levels till June 2017 & will possibly stay on another year, if not will leave at that time to go onto Uni... yes I believe he is being very tactful knowing the prospect of Court will cripple me & I won't even consider it.. that way he doesn't need to declare his current financial position.. Sorry for all the questions you are having to ask! If you prefer to continue this by phone tomorrow I can do so & would fully understand? Can you tell me why he has done me a favour with the Court application?
Please do not be frightened by the Court application - instead be gladYou need to make an urgent applictaion for Child Maintenance for your daughter as the Court only has the power to make an order before she is 18If you apply now then the matter can be dealt with in June - and 12% of his gross income will assist your finances greatly.The fact that you have managed so far without spouse maintenance doe snot make it too late to apply for it - and the difference in your incomes makes it likely that the court will award it - even if for a limited number of years.Stop letting him bully you - he is going to have to give full details of his finances to the courts Please ask if you need further detailsClare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Clare, that is encouraging however it is still going to cost me £5k for the first hearing incl Court fee's if I instruct a solicitor or barrister to litigate on my behalf? That is the worrying aspect. I can possibly meet this cost (with help) but will not be able to claim these costs back, so am worried that any potential payout won't cover the costs in making the application, particularly if it goes to the second stage? Its turning into a very expensive (& nasty) game of 'call my bluff..' I have another question for you on the same topic if you don't mind?
Then don't use them - many people do not because of the cost!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am considering using a barrister who tend to be cheaper as I deal with the litigation aspect
Excellent compromise
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** hope I find the right one! Do I have to request another converation for you to answer another question for me on this topic?
Either is fine