Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

should husband's partner's income be taken into account for maintenance calculations?

(71 Posts)
ginger57 Mon 08-Jul-13 11:59:11

Hi, my first post, hoping someone might have some useful tips/info. Sorry if this gets a bit long and convoluted!

H and I separated some time ago but had to go on sharing house and bed platonically for a few years due to financial situation. Things were difficult but as amicable as possible under the circs. About 3 and a half years ago he started an affair with someone a lot younger (we're both 55, she's 40ish). 2 years ago we finally managed to sort out actual physical separation, he rented a flat and went on seeing her, I stayed in the house until we agreed to sell last year. They have now moved into rented accommodation and I have bought a 70% share of a housing association flat with my half of the house sale.

I have been out of work for 2 years now and am on JSA (I went back to uni to improve my work prospects and haven't worked since) and I'm getting less confident of finding work by the day. This means that much as I would love to be completely independent of him he will have to go on paying me maintenance. He does pay me what he can at the moment but it isn't enough - I live very simply but I have to rely on overdraft and credit card (with low limit) to get by.

He runs his own very niche small business which doesn't make him much money - the profits go back into the business - so I know he probably can't afford to give me much more. The 2 year separation is up at the end of July and I want to get on with the divorce asap, so I've sent him a breakdown of my finances and asked him to do the same so that we can present something we've agreed on.

So my question (finally!) is does he have to include his girlfriend's income as well? Will the court take that into account when deciding if our calculations are fair?

I don't know if its relevant but we have two grown up children, DD lives with me as she has AS and dyspraxia, DS is working and house-sharing with friends. DD has just lost a second job because of dyspraxia, she is trying to build up a career as a TEFL teacher but she is also on a low income. H had a baby last year with girlfriend, possible the stupidest thing he's ever done but that's a whole other story, however I am aware that it will probably complicate everything. GF has a son of 20ish at uni.

Pause for breath. Any thoughts? Many thanks in advance.

onetiredmummy Mon 08-Jul-13 12:40:17

Eh jacqueline?

Do you mean the stbxh? I've always thought that meant 'soon to be ex husband'....

VBisme Mon 08-Jul-13 12:43:06

Jaqueline, I think that's soon-to-be xH, not stupid bastard.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Jul-13 12:52:13

No. The only people who have to pay for a child are the two who created it!

That said, if one of them is doing some creative book keeping to reduce the amount they have to pay then they are an arse of the highest order and I believe the CSA can look into it.

DHtotalnob Mon 08-Jul-13 12:52:28

<thinks the new definition of STBXH has a certain ring to it...>

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Jul-13 12:53:27

grin Jac - it's Soon To Be Ex Husband. STBEXH

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Jul-13 12:55:44

oh. they're all adults. Sorry. blush do the csa get involved in that?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 12:57:00

yes, they should be taken into consideration and the man should be made to pay more if the amount awarded was before the new relationship.
I only had this talk last night with sp friend of mine.
Her dd gets hardly anything from her father and now he has half mortgage, half bills etc than was taken into consideration initially.
So he should up the payment now as his wife is responsible for half mortgage and bills, so he has much larger disposable income.
my friend doesn't think the state should pay when he can afford to.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Jul-13 13:00:26

I'm fairly sure that's not the law, more. Do you mean should be as in morally or do you have a link to the legislation that says current partner's income should be taken into consideration. Cos I've always said when this comes up that no, the law doesn't require that and if that's wrong, it would be good to know.

JaquelineHyde Mon 08-Jul-13 13:02:04

Oh hahaha I have always used it as stupid bastard ex husband, which would have been really harsh in this instance...Soon to be ex husband, not so much grin grin

I can't believe the OP expects her ex to keep on supporting her. shock

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 13:09:00

I'mToo

I mean should in morally, I know its not law.
It seems wrong that just because a person has grown up that a parent wouldn't want to help in times of hardship.
My ds are 21 and 18, both working and doing well financially supporting themselves. However, if anything ever came up that they needed financial support, of course I would help them, its duty as a parent surely?
I know there's a difference between help and still providing for their every whim and fancy. When they need help you should, if you can afford it.

JaquelineHyde Mon 08-Jul-13 13:11:35

More so if an ex should pay more in those circumstances, should they be allowed to pay less if their new partner isn't working and so the ex's wage has to support another adult and possible children etc?

JaquelineHyde Mon 08-Jul-13 13:16:55

Also if the ex chooses to support his adult children then that is between him and his children and has nothing to do with the Mum.

Eddie107 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:17:22

If OP took a career break to bring up children then her earning potential could now be lower than if she had continued working full time. Therefore it seems reasonable that stbexh should contribute some maintenence for OP as she would have reduced income due to caring for their DCs.
Don't know if this is the case for OP or if it is a legal obligation but think it's an important point.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Jul-13 13:17:39

The difference is that when you are grown up there is no legal obligation to continue to support them. So whether you want to help or not, whether you're able to or not, it's up to the individual and it's not enforceable and it sure as hell shouldn't be expected or demanded!

I disagree that you 'should' bail out your adult offspring. I don't think there should be any expectation to do so, although I agree that it's nice if a parent wants to and is able to help out when needed.

Although the downside to that is you can find that there are some people who never learn how to stand on their own two feet because they expect to be bankrolled by their parents for their whole life and then scoop the jackpot when they pop their clogs.

BrianTheMole Mon 08-Jul-13 13:17:49

Not sure he should be paying for you or dd? She's working towards getting a job just like anyone else, and she's grown up. Obviously it would be nice for him to help her out, but not seeing any legal obligation here, esp if he has a baby and is on a low income himself.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 13:18:45

No they shouldn't be allowed to pay less as they had the child with first partner, if they then go on to another relationship with dc or have more dc they have to work harder to provide for the dc.
If you make a child you have to have enough money to pay for them. This is what I am told regularly when I mention top up tax credits.
If its morally wrong to expect the state to provide for dc then you can't have one rule for one situation and another rule for somebody else.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Jul-13 13:19:53

That's true.

Until they are adults.

You don't have to make enough money to pay for them until they hit retirement age! grin

NatashaBee Mon 08-Jul-13 13:21:26

It sounds unlikely to me that the spousal support will continue once the divorce is finalised. Isn't that only where one partner earns much more than the other (premier league footballers and their wives type of thing). Have you got a contingency plan in place for when the support stops?

Alwayscheerful Mon 08-Jul-13 13:24:38

It is my undertsanding that their total income will be considered when arriving at a divorce settlement, so yes their income and their expenditure will go on the form, as will your income and your expenditure, but I am confused,you state you have sold your joint house and I suspect you have split the proceeds, so do you have any assets to share? Usually the financial settlement and decree absolute and within a few weeks of each other.

Morally, I would say you are on your own now he may choose to contribute or help your children but he is not obliged to do so.

GemmaTeller Mon 08-Jul-13 13:26:19

NO

fabulousfoxgloves Mon 08-Jul-13 13:50:21

>If OP took a career break to bring up children then her earning potential could now be lower than if she had continued working full time. Therefore it seems reasonable that stbexh should contribute some maintenence for OP as she would have reduced income due to caring for their DCs.<

This would have to be argued out in a divorce court, though, and would probably cost more than OP is likely to gain, if STBXH is not wealthy. I am not sure that legally he is required to pay anything in terms of spousal support, though that may depend where you are in Britain. And surely this should all have been agreed before the property was sold. Has anyone actually taken legal advice here?

I wonder if OP really accepted that the separation meant that the marriage was over (if they were still sharing a house and bed for several years, that is not separated, really, what about the sofa?), and still this went on for 18 months after he met someone else (which she terms an affair). That doesn't sound very separated in my book.

I do think there is a point here that the OP really has to accept that the marriage ended, she has got half the proceeds of the house, he has been supporting her beyond what was necessary, and the new GF's money is the new GF's money. The situation sucks because she is unemployed and looking after the adult daughter, whilst he is playing happy families with the new baby, but unfortunately that is life. I would let ex-hubby get on with it, and focus on your own life, simple as it may be.

lulubear1 Mon 08-Jul-13 14:05:21

I agree with most of the posts. Her income doesn't come into it andwhy should he have to pay for you? You already stated he is on a low income and has a baby, why would you add to the pressure by demanding maintenance off him which is totally undeserved.

I also agree with airofhope he did not have an affair, you stated you had seperated and the only reason in the same house was due to finances. So he as a single man started a relationship, no wrong doing on his part.

Time to stand on your own.

UptheChimney Mon 08-Jul-13 14:34:24

If OP took a career break to bring up children then her earning potential could now be lower than if she had continued working full time. Therefore it seems reasonable that stbexh should contribute some maintenence for OP as she would have reduced income due to caring for their DCs

This.

I can't believe how harsh the responses are here to a woman whose exH cheated on her, and has been left to support a DD with AS and dyspraxia at an age when we all know how difficult it is to get a job.

I agree that the exH's GF's income is nothing to do with the OP, except that it means that her exH probably has very low living expenses. Whereas she (OP) has been left supporting a daughter with disabilities which are likely making it difficult to find reasonable employment in the current climate.

But still, I think a bit of compassion wouldn't go amiss here. Maybe those of you responding so harshly are much younger? I hope none of you is left by your DH when you've spent most of your adult life raising your children, and have lost out financially & career wise. It's a pretty shit position for women, despite some attempts at evening up the imbalances, and I'm just really surprised at the lack of "sisterhood" feeling.

VodkaJelly Mon 08-Jul-13 14:37:31

morethanpotatoprints what are you on about? The DD is an adult and has lost 2 jobs already. She should be either claiming DLA or JSA. Even if the exh still lived with the OP the DD could still claim DLA or JSA. The state would be providing for her regardless of the divorce of the parents.

The OP wont be claiming tax credits because the DD IS AN ADULT.

The maintenance the OP is getting is SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE AND NOT CHILD MAINTENANCE.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now