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Variation of spousal maintenance order(8 Posts)
Does anyone here have experience of variation of spousal maintenance orders?
I have a joint lives order for 50% of my ex husbands salary and 20% of all future bonus payments (he is a high earner).
I have been a SAHM since our 3rd child was born in 2003. We divorced in 2007.
I have reason to believe that my ex and his girlfriend (the OW) are trying for a baby.
My question is... If they have a baby can he change the maintenance order?
I know under CSA rules the income would be split to cover all children he supports, If it a voluntary agreement (albeit through court) he might try & change it. Get a session with your solicitor now so you can get your options on the table.
If circumstances change either party can apply for a variation. The courts then look at both parties financial circumstances afresh. If your ex has had any pay increases or his new partner contributes to the household expenses he may have more disposable income from which to pay SM.
Outcomes of variations can be difficult to call there is always a risk that the outcome of an application to decrease SM is an increase. You would really need to speak to a solicitor who works with the local courts to find out where you stand.
Sometimes a view has been taken that the financial obligations to the first family need be fulfilled first. Other times it has been said recipients of SM should have made better use of income potential and the payers are entitled to move on with their lives so SM has been reduced to accommodate new children.
I can't advise you but in my case the spousal maintenance order was reduced by half and stopped with eighteen months. Child maintenence was continued as usual. Does this 50% include child provision? The courts view in our case was that once the youngest child was 7+ a SAHM can return to work hence the 18 month grace period. They also gave the impression that both parties should move on with their lives.
I thought I posted a reply but it's not here...
Thanks for your thoughts - I appreciate your help.
Marylou - could you tell me why your spousal maintenance order was changed? Did your ex say that his circumstances had changed? You see, my order doesn't have an end date... I don't think that it could just be stopped altogether because he has a child with someone else...
STIDW - are you saying that having another child is grounds for a change in circumstance? And that, it's possible that my maintenance won't change? (If it helps his new partner is a very high earner too...I am concerned that she won't want to go back to her job if she has a child)
Hi Damanda, it wasn't my order. It was Dh's from 1st marriage. We met post divorce, married and were planning a family. They'd had a lifetime order in place for 5 years but when we popped to our new solicitor to write a will he said this should be challenged immediately as his ex wife should be capable of working. Amazingly the court agreed and spousal maintenance was halved immediately and stopped 18months later.Child support continued via Csa until his sob was 18 and we continue to support him now. Dh is also a high earner. Hopefully will be different for you if child maintenance is included in your order.
It depends how high an earner he is. If he earns under 104 K net pa ( around 155k gross) he could apply to the CSA who would reduce the child maintenance element if he has another dependant child.
The fact he had another family is unlikely, on its own, to be grounds for variation to your spousal maintenance. However that is not to say he would not have other grounds. Orders for 50% of net salary are very rare now - the tide has tuned. Now that your youngest is older he may very well have a good argument that you should be looking to get yourself back to the workplace and becoming less reliant. It is pretty rare to achieve an order over 40% nowadays and again rare to get an ongoing share of bonus. Sorry to not be more positive!
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