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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
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 have a question related to spousal maintenance. I have

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I have a question related to spousal maintenance. I have been divorced for approximately three years and at the time of the separation my ex-wife was working three days week and earning roughly £35k gross. Her solicitors reasoned that she did not have the means to continue her current lifestyle into divorce so therefore I would have to contribute through spousal maintenance which was agreed at £600/month. At that time my gross earnings were over £200k.
The current situation has changed considerably, I am now earning 20% less as I have moved jobs, plus she is now working full time and I estimate her gross salary to be in the region of £60k. In addition my eldest son from my first marriage has started university and whilst I am still supporting him heavily, the CMS no longer takes this into account and has reallocated his payment to the two sons from my second marriage. This has resulted in my ex wife receiving an additional £300/month on top of the £900/month I was already paying. And then finally an annual assessment of the spousal maintenance for a clause to take account of increase in salary has resulted in it being raised to £651/month.
I would like to know if you think I have grounds for spousal maintenance to be re-assessed and what the likely outcome might be?
Regards, Ashley

Thank you for your question

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you

There is no reason not to apply for a downward variation to reflect the fact that your income has decreased - and the income she now has goes further towards meeting her Reasonable needs.

You should try and discuss matters with your ex first using Family Mediation - but if that fails you can make the applictaion to the original court using a Form A

I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do I have to go through mediation first? I tried that in January over changing access arrangements and she point blank refused to negotiate. It will be a pointless exercise. Also from the facts can you provide your opunion on likely outcome. I already know the process so would like some value add please :) Also is she obliged to provide details of her current earnings? Regards Ashley

You are required to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting prior to making the application.

If your income has reduced by 20% then yes you have a good chance of success.

As part of the process you will have to exchange Forms E - and she will have to give full details of her income

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does her additional income also make my application more likely to be successful? Does the additional child maintenance get taken into account?

They are both relevant and yes it will help

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Regarding the maintenance I am paying for the children. Due to my eldest son from a previous marriage starting university, the Child Maintenance Service have now reallocated his contribution and she will now get £300 approx more per month. As I am still supporting my eldest at Uni I have written to her and asked her to contribute towards the activities that I have been doing with my youngest two boys, primarily go-karting. This started as a bit of fun but both boys are now taking it very seriously and are now part of a championship with regular race evenings. The costs are substantial and can be between £250 to £300 per month. She has refused to contribute in any way, saying it is up to me if I want to take them. Clearly the boys will be devastated if they don't continue. What are my rights here can I withhold any of the monthly child maintenance payments? Can I insist she supports this 'hobby'? They both used to play football on Saturday but one has started high school and he no longer plays, so go-karting is his only activity outside of school. Mediation will be pointless as she tends to dig in on these matters and becomes extremely righteous. Any advice gratefully received. Regards ***** *****

I am sorry but you cannot take any of the money from the Child Maintenance - and you cannot force her to support their hobby

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry one last question as this just happened today! I have been put 'at risk' and I think it is likely I will be made redundant :( What happens to the the CMS and spousal payments under this scenario?

You will need to apply for a downward variation as a matter of urgency

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm presuming you mean for spousal maintenence? What about child maintenance or can the court rule on that too?

You can apply for a downward variation of that as well - or apply for a CMS assessment

Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you