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Spousal maintenance

(38 Posts)
Thomas66 Fri 07-Oct-16 11:30:09

I'm a divorced dad of 3 boys. Currently paying £900/month in child maintenance - happy to do so. I've been paying spousal maintenance on top of the £900 so an extra £350/month since 2012. Ex wife went into full time work, 3 months after I'd agreed to pay spousal maintenance so she didn't have to go into full time work. She's now earning £55,000/annum and refuses to allow me to stop paying spousal maintenance unless I take her to Court. Any advice please would be appreciated. I guess I should "apply to vary" this in Court? Am I being unreasonable?

Ouriana Fri 07-Oct-16 11:33:18

How was it agreed, is the maintenance a private agreement or arranged by the courts?

user1470043860 Fri 07-Oct-16 11:34:02

Take her to court, she is being unreasonable.

Afterthestorm Fri 07-Oct-16 11:34:20

Yep, sounds fair enough to me.

Happybunny19 Fri 07-Oct-16 11:37:37

Good god that's surely loads more than necessary. Why are you paying so much, plus spousal maintenance when she earns so highly too? Fair play to you for paying well for your kids but that seems extreme.

VimFuego101 Fri 07-Oct-16 11:42:11

How much do you earn? If it's a similar amount (I would guess so based on the child support you pay) I can't see a court ordering to continue. What does the original order say about when it should end?

category12 Fri 07-Oct-16 11:42:16

Happybunny - He should pay child support according to his income, not hers. It's for the dc.

If she wants you to go to court about changing or stopping spousal maintenance, which seems reasonable for you to want to do, then court it must be.

VimFuego101 Fri 07-Oct-16 11:42:56

How much do you earn? If it's a similar amount (I would guess so based on the child support you pay) I can't see a court ordering to continue. What does the original order say about when it should end?

Thomas66 Fri 07-Oct-16 11:46:09

I agreed to pay spousal maintenance as part of the court order - as she'd told the Judge she would never return to f/t work - and I felt it right and reasonable to support her whilst she looked after our children. I have them every other weekend and every Wednesday. But, 3 months after I'd agreed to pay spousal maintenance, she took a full time job. I have no objection at all to paying child maintenance which is calculated each year by the child maintenance agency. But, I think I'm perhaps the only divorced dad I know who is paying spousal maintenance, when her gross income of her salary and the child maintenance that I pay is circa £70,000 annum.

BantyCustards Fri 07-Oct-16 11:48:21

Wow, she's being very unreasonable. Unfortunately it looks like you are going to have to go back to court.

ayeokthen Fri 07-Oct-16 11:50:40

Spousal maintenance when she is on such a good income is ridiculous. Fair enough about the maintenance, you're not quibbling that though.

Cabrinha Fri 07-Oct-16 11:54:35

Perhaps £350 a month wasn't enough for her to stay part time, when it came down to it.
Perhaps other opportunities came up that couldn't be ignored.

I didn't apply for spousal maintenance but I know when I went from 4 days to 5 shortly after divorce it was simply because a colleague went onto Mat Leave and I was offered a great role but it had to be FT. From the outside, you might say that I waited until after Consent Order to increase my income. (I didn't and it would have made no difference - I'm just pointing out that your XW's career development may not be so deliberate as you suggest.

And in the early days of being FT, she may have been nowhere near being on £55K (well done her)

SM isn't to keep your XW part time, it's to recognise a salary differential and financial disadvantage to her from having been married / primary care giver. It can be ordered because of retraining costs of low initial salary - but still full time.

So I don't think her working FT is relevant. But you can apply to vary when there have been big changes of circumstance.

So yes, I would apply.

Thomas66 Fri 07-Oct-16 11:56:39

ayeokthen - I have no issue about paying child maintenance at the figure the agency sets each year - but I do have over spousal maintenance when she works full time now, has David Lloyd gym membership, a cleaner, just leased a new car, sky, 2 holidays abroad this year....I feel I am being harshly treated. I so want to avoid court as it's just such a nightmare - but, it would seem that many of the people who have commented here - may be women and not just blokes who think she is taking the Michael?

Thomas66 Fri 07-Oct-16 12:00:04

Cabrinha - thank you for the comment - and well put too. I agree. It may not have been so calculated. My issue is now that her career is firmly back on track - earning very well, high level of child maintenance per month - that she should do the right thing and say - you know what, I can stand on my own two feet now - thanks for the SM for the last 4 years, it's helped, so please don't pay it anymore, I don't need it. But, alas.....greed takes over it seems.

Cabrinha Fri 07-Oct-16 12:02:04

It's all relative.
You may be the only dad you know that pays SM to a high earning XW, but there will be others.

Whatever she said in court about not working FT, it's irrelevant now.
Yeah, she may have lied to get the best deal - which seems to be what you're implying? But that's why the court is there - the judge is allowed to say, actually you should work FT.

Now once the divorce was all done, perhaps she thought - bloody hell, I'm on my own now, £350 a month isn't going to cover me now let alone get me a pension. Actually, I need to work.

My childcare fees for one child are £250 a month - before and after school club.

What are the childcare fees for your 3 children? That have to be paid so she can work. And why should she pay those alone?

Do you see where I'm coming from? The £900 was for housing, clothing, feeding etc...

She could easily be paying £700 a month in childcare now making your £350 a fair half.

You could even argue that you should pay more than half, because it's her "turn" to have her career opportunities supported.

I don't know who is reasonable and who is not, but to even begin to decide i would want to know who is paying childcare and how much.

Thomas66 Fri 07-Oct-16 12:06:04

The boys are 14, 12 and almost 11 now - so no child care costs as in nursery fees, no after school club anymore.

Cabrinha Fri 07-Oct-16 12:07:46

We're crossing posts!

I don't get spousal. Didn't ask for it, wouldn't have got it.

I'm entitled to £400 a month maintenance. I have never claimed it. Why? (because I'm a mug?grin)
Because I don't need it. I earn more than your XW (but my XH earns more than me). I can afford gym membership and SkyTV. I don't need it.
I do insist on £125 a month which is half of the childcare fees I mentioned.

So look, I really don't have an axe to grind on that. But her telling you to go to court...

My XH was a lying cheat. I could well imagine if he tried to vary something another version of me not so far under the surface would think - FUCK YOU. Take me to court. It wouldn't be greed, it wouldn't be about the money, it would be about how much I dislike him.

Given that presumably you two don't have a great relationship (not uncommon after divorce!) you may find her motivation is not greed at all.

Cabrinha Fri 07-Oct-16 12:08:35

Which doesn't alter whether you are reasonable to request the ending of it - just throwing in an alternative motivation for you to think of!

Thomas66 Fri 07-Oct-16 12:10:44

Court it is then. I didn't cheat, worked hard, provided well etc.
Thanks for all your comments everybody - appreciated.

Blondeandinept Fri 07-Oct-16 12:32:57

*I'm entitled to £400 a month maintenance. I have never claimed it. Why? (because I'm a mug?grin)*

You might not need it, but what about your children?

What about putting side for them for the future. Who knows what they may want to try that night cost money, or university fees, or just a safety net

I hate to say it, but I do think you're a mug.

Cabrinha Fri 07-Oct-16 12:42:38

Thanks grin
I am saving for her, as is my XH, and XMIL.

When I left the FMH, my XH had to cover the mortgage on his own instead of 50/50. It was important to me that we didn't sell it, so she had some stability during the split. I just thought, I don't need that money - and his costs have gone up - I'll leave it.

Our contact arrangements are very flexible because of my work. I'm owed maintenance because she's theoretically with me more nights - but some weeks, he has her more. So potential to feel hard done by over maintenance I suppose. I have her more hours because I have more weekends - but it's close to 60/40 on nights.

Even with an uneven night split, we both still provide a home, clothes, holidays.

It's true I don't save that £400 and I could. But that £400 on his side bought her a two week trip to Orlando which she loved!

I don't think it would be unfair on him, exactly, to pay it. But I also don't think it's necessarily fair either. The law is a blunt instrument!

(sorry for derail Thomas!)

GrumpusLumpus Fri 07-Oct-16 12:43:03

My DH pays his ex wife over £1000 a month in spousal maintenance so it could be worse. They have two children in secondary school. She works part time but is more qualified than him and could easily work more if she wanted. The order was made when the kids were small and it's a joint lives order which means he gets the pleasure of supporting her until she dies or remarries (death more likely!). You need to speak to a solicitor. DHs felt he was unlikely to get much of reduction even when the kids both turn 18.

Thomas66 Fri 07-Oct-16 12:50:14

I've already uploaded FORM A and have decided to apply to vary. I don't need to pay a solicitor to advise me on the rights and wrongs of the case - by me paying child maintenance at the level I do - her gross income is the same as mine once child maintenance has been paid. Plus - my understanding is that SM should only be applicable to alleviate financial hardship. And I hardly think that £55k/annum + £10k a year (net) in CM is financial hardship. Be hard pressed I think to find any reasonable person who would say different.

whatyouseeiswhatyouget Fri 07-Oct-16 12:53:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DrDreReturns Fri 07-Oct-16 12:57:07

But he pays to support the kids. Once you are divorced you should be under no obligation to financially support your ex imo.

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