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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 23777
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I have a question regarding financial orders. We have a

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Hi, I have a question regarding financial orders. We have a financial order currently being ratified with the courts. How does the sum stand if I start making more money ?
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: yes
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: the uk
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I'm not sure
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

I will need to know all the background can i ask please - Is this about a financial settlement re divorce?

and what would you like to know?

Stuart J and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Hi, thanks for getting back so quickly. Happy to give as much info as necessary. Yes financial settlement re divorce. Divorce was filed and completed back in 2016, but the financial settlement has been dragging on until now. There is a financial remedy order (mesher) submitted to Bury St Edmonds. In the document, we agreed I would pay £850 per month. This is based on my income at the time the negociations took place.
During the pandemic, I have changed my activity and my financial situation may change in the coming months/years.
I am now entering a mediation with my ex-wife to discuss seeing the children. Financial discussions will invariably come up and I want to be prepared. As she has threatened me with legal action several times before, I would like to know where I stand if I start making more money, even though we have a financial order in place.
Does this make sense ?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
ok, if you can refund the money please and answer the question here ?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
it says the solicitor is unable to call but I've just been charged £44 for the call, is that correct ?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
is the person still available ?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
ah, it says now the solicitor will call...

We spoke. It was my pleasure to assist you. Please come back if anything else crops up and needs clarification.
Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem.If you want me to deal with any questions in the future, please put my name at the top of the thread, “for Stuart J only” and the other experts will tell me that you are waiting.  Kind regards

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Stuart, thanks again for your time. it was very useful. Just to confirm I'd like to have your opinion. We have a 4 bed family house in London valued at £800,000 where Beth and Maia (18) Theo(16) and Zach(13) live rent free. There is an outstanding mortgage of about £70,000 left to pay for another 6 years roughly.
My dream plan was to try and make as much money as possible so that I could put together a deposit to buy a house for myself so as to avoid selling the family house to provide security for Beth and any children who may need it as they launch in their studies and career.
Following from our discussion, it seems that I would run the risk of being greatly penalised if I were to save anywhere between £70k to £300K or more. Could you confirm that is the case in your opinion ? And that I would be better off making little money for the next 5 years and carry on renting ?
Many thanks

Hello again.  My pleasure.

Whilst wanting to provide a secure future for children for as long as possible and even into university is admirable, the legal liability ceases at aged 18.

It depends whether your wife has the same ethical view when it comes to the sale of the house.

It’s a very fine line between savings and income because without the income you cannot save any money.

So the 2 go hand-in-hand.  This

The one way of guaranteeing that nothing happens until the mesh order finally hits is to have no income.

I haven’t seen the file or the negotiations so it comes down to how written in stone the current offer on the table is

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
This is how the agreement begins:Recitals
Introductory recital
The parties agree that the terms set out in this order are accepted in full and final satisfaction of:
a. All claims for income;
b. All claims for capital, that is payments of lump sums, transfers of property and variations of settlements;
c. All claims in respect of each others pensions;
d. All claims in respect of the contents of the family home and personal belongings including but not limited to furniture, art work, jewellery and motor vehicles;
e. All claims in respect of legal costs including those of the divorce/dissolution proceedings;
f. The respondent having paid the applicant lump sums of £5,000 on 7 March 2020 and £4,000 on 27 February 2020. All claims against each other’s estate on death;
g. All other claims of any nature which one may have against the other as a result of their marriage/ civil partnership howsoever arising either in England and Wales or in any other jurisdiction
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
26. Child periodical payments order
By agreement between the parties the respondent shall pay to the applicant periodical payments for benefit of the children of the family. Payments shall be at the rate of £885.00 00 per month (eight hundred and eighty-five pounds), payable monthly in advance by standing order. Payments shall start on the date of this order, and ends on the youngest child reaching 18 years.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
29. Clean break: capital
Except as provided for in this order, the applicant’s claims for lump sum orders, property adjustment orders, pension sharing orders and pension attachment orders shall be dismissed.30. Clean break: capital and income
Except as provided for in this order, the applicant’s claims for periodical payments orders, secured periodical payments orders, lump sum orders, property adjustment orders, pension sharing orders and pension attachment orders shall be dismissed, and she shall not be entitled to make any further application in relation to the marriage for an order under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 section 23(1)(a) or (b) and she shall not be entitled on the respondent’s death to apply for an order under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, section 2.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Just for information, this would give you an idea of how the agreement is worded. If you were able to give me your opinion based on those paragraphs, that would be fantastic, thank you.

Excellent.  The GBP850 (885) is for children, nothing to do with the spouse.

So the way it is worded, once this order is sealed by the court, her claim finishes.  That’s the end of it.  You can then do what you like but you have to carry on paying the GBP850 for the children and she could apply to have that increased but it’s only for the children not for her.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
ok, great. That's fantastic news, thank you.
Now is there a chance that the order may not be sealed by the courts ?
And if the order was not to go through, what could be the reason be ? And what would the process be (roughly) to submit the order again for it to be sealed ?

It’s most unlikely that the court would not seal the order unless it is inherently unfair.

The judge may ask for a hearing if he thinks it’s unfair and one of you is not represented but he would not normally ask for a hearing if you are both represented whether the agreement seems to be fair or unfair.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
even though I offered £1500 for Beth to be represented, she chose to represent herself. Could that represent a risk for the judge to ask for a hearing, and the order to need to be renegotiated ?I'm not sure what would be fair or unfair in the eyes of a judge. It was pointed out to me that there was no provision for spousal maintenance in the agreement. Beth is an Associate Architect in the second largest Architect firm in the UK, with the potential to become a Director there. With that in mind would the lack of spousal maintenance provision be the cause of doubt whether the agreement is fair or unfair ?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Also to add that in the Form D declaration, she has a total £500,000 assets versus me £400,000

Clearly, your ex has great earning potential which is probably why it is going the way it’s going that she only wants money for the children.  The disparity in assets is another reason although you haven’t mentioned pensions because they sometimes can be a huge amount of money which very often gets overlooked.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I see, the 500k vs 400k includes pensions.I wrote to my solicitor this morning as you suggested and she replied.1. When there are children involved and maintenance payments in place it cannot be called a clean break. However, this order is as clean a break as possible with further claims dismissed. There are no inheritance claims – it is as stated in the order.If there are fundamental changes to the circumstances of the parties, the party seeking a variation would make an application to the court to vary the order. As we discussed, this can be on a variety of issues such as loss of income or fraud by one of the parties. It is not done lightly and it would have to be shown to the court there was a sound reason to make to application based on need. It would not be a capital adjustment. With child maintenance payments under an order, the terms last for 12 months and thereafter, either party can apply for a CMS assessment. That means you or Beth, could apply to the CMS ( without an application to vary the order) and the CMS rate would then apply. You may decide to do that as it is based on taxed income and the number of children and the number of overnights you have with them. Sometimes people do this, quite often people just use the sum as set out in the order and sometimes, as with you and Beth, the parties agree between themselves to make some additional payments.2. You may remember that I used the example of winning the lottery as an example - but the applying party would need to show need or that the agreed maintenance was insufficient or that the win had not been disclosed at the time of agreeing the order.3. An application to vary an order can be done by either party if they feel that there is a sound reason to do so. Don’t forget, you may be the one seeking to vary the order; examples being to reduce the payments because of a drop in income or if the children were living with you. It is a formal application to the court with a court fee and it would require a hearing. The court may decline to vary the order or make adjustments depending on the how they decide on the application and hearing.Could you confirm what she means by "It would not be a capital adjustment." in point 1 ?

Your solicitor is correct that there is no clean break with regard to children.  It’s what I said earlier.

However as it says, if there are fundamental changes to the circumstances of the parties, and one can apply, then it’s not a clean break!

The reality is that in those circumstances, nothing is a clean break but there would have to be something pretty fundamental in the change of circumstances such as becoming rich rather than just an increase in income.

As she says, it is not done lightly.

With regard to child maintenance, the courts will very often simply referred it to the Child Maintenance Service and the CMS rates indeed would then apply and that is very often the guide that the court would use.

Capital adjustment means that she can’t have a chunk of money if you inherit or win a chunk of money.  She can only base it upon income not capital