How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask plclegal Your Own Question
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6052
Experience:  Barrister at law
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
plclegal is online now

I have been paying £1000 a month on a voluntary basis to my

This answer was rated:

I have been paying £1000 a month on a voluntary basis to my ex husband since we split up in December 2011. We lived together from September 2001 and married on 01/03/2008. I am 73 years old he is a year older. I am a doctor with a good NHS pension but am still working largely to pay the maintenance. I do not want to go to court as I have been advised that he will probably get his maintenance out of my NHS pension and this is something I wish to avoid. I am currently off sick having had an operation on my shoulder. I will be off work for about 3 months. I would like to reduce the maintenance probably by £200 a month. Is this reasonable? Do I need his agreement? When we split up he did agree to a reduction when I retired. He has his basic state pension and 2 small merchant navy pensions amounting in total to about £700 - 800 a month on top of my maintenance. He lives in rented accommodation and pays £600 a month on rent. I think £800 a month is enough to pay his rent an utilities. He is an alcoholic and much of my money over the years has gone on booze. Legal advice I have had in the past said I would need to pay this maintenance for the rest of his life which seems very unfair. Is this still true?

Hello, my name is*****’ve been asked to look at this for you, thank you for your patience.

Please bear in mind as this is an email service and not live chat I may not respond immediately.

I am surprised due to the short duration from marriage to separation that you have been paying such a significant amount each month. However, as nothing is court ordered to date, then legally if you have to reduce the amount for the time frame that you suggest there is no reason you cannot do this.

I hope this assists.

Let me know if I can clarify anything for you.

Can I assist you further with your question?

If you have further questions, you can always come back to me.

In the meantime, if you could take a second to provide a 5 star rating (top right of your screen) I'll be credited for my time spent responding to your question.

Kind regards,


plclegal and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Dear Peter thank you for your response. any sane person would agree that after such a short marriage and at my age I should not have to keep this man at this rate indefinitely. However, the opinion of my local solicitor and a barrister from no 5 chambers in Birmingham was that the court would take the whole 10 year relationship into account and, as I was the breadwinner, it was my responsibility to provide him with a decent standard of living. The barrister even said she would go for more money if she was representing him as I have a good NHS pension. It seems that I will have to do this until one of us dies. My objection to going to court was him having his maintenance out of my NHS pension pot, partly because it was built up before I met him but mostly because even if he died the next day I would not get the money back. As he is an alcoholic I am reasonable confident he will die before me. My previous legal advice was 5+ years ago. Has anything changed in the law since then? How likely is it that the court would insist on any maintenance awarded to him coming out of my pension pot? If it's worth my while I will consult a different solicitor locally
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Please can I have a reply to the supplementary question I posted on 07/11/19. I met my ex a few days ago and he showed me a letter her signed agreeing to £1000 a month maintenance in return for relinquishing any rights to my assets. It does not mention a time limit so he thinks he is entitled to indefinite maintenance. Is this true or would it be reasonable of me to ask the court to limit his maintenance given that we were only married for less than 4 years and together for 10 years. I am 73 years old an would like to retire but can't do so if I have to keep paying him. He has an income of £920 a month on top of my £1000, 550 of which he calls disposable income i.e. money he can spend on fun, luxuries etc.

Hello - apologies, for some reason the supplementary question did not come through to me. I'll review and come back to you. Kind regards.

Thanks for your patience. My view is that you can ask the court to reconsider the maintenance issue - due to the change in circumstances (i.e. you wishing to retire). You should not have to keep working simply to pay maintenance after such a short lived marriage.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks I will seek local legal advice with a view to going to court

My pleasure. Best wishes.