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(9 Posts)
Allycat Mon 10-Mar-14 16:51:07

Hi Legal Peeps.

My husband and I are currently going through mediation. At the moment, he is being very agreeable and is paying me more than required by the CSA for maintenance.

The solicitor dealing with our mediation said that the additional amount is known as spousal maintenance.

She then asked if this should be put down as nominal spousal maintenance, or substantive (I think that's the word she used). I asked what the difference was and although she attempted to explain, I felt none the wiser!!!

Can someone please explain the difference please.

Many thanks, Allycat

LauraBridges Mon 10-Mar-14 17:37:15

I'm not sure. If there is none at all (we had a clean break without even nominal) then neither of you can claim any spousal maintenance later - I was paying my ex husband (as I earn a lot more) and was keen to have a clean break. If you have nominal maintenance for the spouse even £1 a year then he or she can come back later and claim more which is obviously why I refused it and gave him more than half the assets in return.

I would imagine if he is paying not just the CSA amount for the children but also a sum for you too that is not nominal but is substantive. Either I believe means if your needs change later you can try to get it revised as can he if his income drops etc. You probably needs a divorce lawyer though to give a better answer.

Allycat Mon 10-Mar-14 20:19:30

Thank you LB for your response smile. That is kind of what the mediator said actually. Although I still don't know the difference!!! I'll see a solicitor with my Memorandum of Understanding so will ask them then.

Anyone else know the difference?

LauraBridges Mon 10-Mar-14 21:45:58

Having looked at this link I think the only difference is nominal is £1 a year and any more than that is proper normal spousal maintenance (substantive).

So if your ex is paying you more than a really nominal sum (he is) then it will not be counted as nominal and it will be substantive purely because is to be paid and is more than £1. In our case we didn't even have any spousal maintenance (just a clean capital break) as I was keen to cut off his financial demands going forwards by buying them out with a clean break (as we both worked full time and both paid 40% tax etc so even his income a tenth of mine was enough for him to live on even without all the capital he got)

Allycat Mon 10-Mar-14 22:45:25

Thanks LB. That's great. So good that we can all bounce this stuff off each other.

Beccawoo Wed 12-Mar-14 20:23:03

My maintenance order has nominal spousal maintenance of £1 in, but has figures for child maintenance up to leaving education, all of which are higher than the CSA states needs to be paid but as he is a high earner he wants to provide more maintenance for them. Your solicitor may be suggestion this option, rather than having a cm figure equivalent to CSA payments anyway plus sm figure for you, have just nominal sm and a larger cm figure. X

Allycat Wed 12-Mar-14 23:48:29

Thanks Beccawoo. So many decisions to make!!!!

It is clearly up to the couple what it is documented as. I would like to think that he will continue to pay me the higher rate and as I was never intending to ask for spousal so I suppose it doesn't really matter. He can see it goes on the kids anyway.

Just so glad that we are getting on so well. It clearly shows we have done the right thing.

LauraBridges Thu 13-Mar-14 10:36:44

I think the important legal difference is that if there is none at all not even £1 then that is a clean break and the spouse cannot claim later for their own maintenance, whereas they can if even £1 is in there.

Psychologically many of us (including women paying men - we do exist) prefer to pay money to the children than the spouse. Eg our order says I pay school and university fees for all 5 and as I would have done that whether we divorced or not I am happy to be making those payments (he pays nothing; whereas I would be less keen for exactly the same amount of money to be going to him).

Allycat Fri 14-Mar-14 08:08:48

Yes, I see what you mean LB.

I wouldn't expect him to finance me anyway. It was just a rounded amount for ease, really.

It was just the mediation centre said it had to be labelled as spousal maintenance.

I think that most women would always pay over and above for maintenance of their children. I know I would!

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