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Clean break or spousal maintenance?

(36 Posts)
GoldenOrb Tue 26-Jul-16 12:42:30

Am i right to think that in most divorces a "clean break" is preferred (by courts) over spousal maintenance?

Trying to work out if what H has proposed in terms of a financial settlement is fair, or if I should listen to family who say that I should insist on spousal maintenance.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 26-Jul-16 13:15:42

There are so many factors do you have children, how long have you been married, what you earns, what he earns, assets including pension. The only way you will really know is by seeing a solicitor.

millymollymoomoo Tue 26-Jul-16 14:13:26

well, I think in general a clean break is preferred when it can be achieved, and increasingly where this can't be achieved only interim spousal is awarded.

However, that said there are cases of lifetime spousal so it can and does happen.

Would be entirely dependent on your own circumstances, but the days of expecting to not work ever and for an ExH to fund that are pretty much gone

(I'm not saying this is you btw)

What does your solicitor think of the proposal?

orangebird69 Tue 26-Jul-16 14:40:41

Spousal is pretty rare these days unless there would be a vast difference in your standards of living that you had no way of managing yourself. What are your basic circumstances?

Scarydinosaurs Tue 26-Jul-16 14:45:59

Have you calculated the difference between the two options? I think a clean break is preferable as it will cut all ties- and if there are no children, this is probably the best outcome for you?

GoldenOrb Tue 26-Jul-16 16:40:04

We have 3 dc.

Working out the difference might be a start, although I don't know how much maintenance I would be expected to get.

millymollymoomoo Tue 26-Jul-16 16:51:35

remember that child maintenance is separate to Spousal and you should get child maint regardless. For 3 children you should be expecting around 25% of income dependent of number of nights they are with your ex husband (you can do CSA (or what ever it is called now) calculator to work this out) presuming you are not doing 50:50 shared care.

Fidelia Tue 26-Jul-16 16:52:59

There's no recommended amount. It's all purely based on needs, and if that is covered, standard of living before the split. But it's also expected that the resident parent will seek to maximise their income.

So, if you both have similar incomes, there's not going to be any spousal maintenance. If there's a large income gap, the residential parent has already got a job and the other parent is high earning, then you may get spousal maintenance for a time. Lifetime spousal is very rare.

At the same time, a full clean break is unusual and not recommended if you have children, it more normal to have nominal spousal maintenance, so thtt if circumstances were to change, you could ask for proper spousal maintenance instead

GoldenOrb Tue 26-Jul-16 16:56:03

He earns about 80k, I work part time and earn 13k, if I worked full time I would earn 30k. He doesn't want to pay spousal maintenance, his argument is that he would happily have more time with the children leaving me more time to work more. I am not happy with a 50/50 arrangement which is what he wants. So we are quite stuck!

I'll work more, but not at the cost of less time with the children.

sparechange Tue 26-Jul-16 17:00:21

Ideally, you really don't want it to get to court, because it is a long and expensive process.

Do you both have a solicitor? Does your solicitor think it is fair and in line with what you would get from a judgement?

Scarydinosaurs Tue 26-Jul-16 17:32:20

This isn't spousal maintenance, this is CHILD maintenance then?

Spousal maintenance would have nothing to do with child maintenance?

Your family are absolutely correct that he should provide child maintenance.

Scarydinosaurs Tue 26-Jul-16 17:34:05

If you have been the main carer, then that is what should continue- the least disruption to their lives is crucial to make this as easy as possible for THEM.

Can you use the CMA to calculate the minimum of what he should pay, then do your own sums and work out what you need him to pay, and then go to him with a proposal?

Rubixx Tue 26-Jul-16 17:56:19

That is wrong on so many levels.

You want your husband to give you spousal maintenance so you don't have to increase your hours at work so you can spend as much time as possible with the children but won't consider a split in care as he has proposed?

Support yourself! (I say this purely with regards to spousal maintenance and not child).

Happydappy99 Tue 26-Jul-16 18:01:06

I was advised to include a nominal amount in my consent order so it left the door open for a change if needed later on. In my case I get 5p per annum.

millymollymoomoo Tue 26-Jul-16 18:12:54

Agree with rubixx

You should also be getting larger share of assets as lower earner and primary carer.

Cms on 80k with 3 children staying at dads 2 nights a week is 950 per month

You should seek to increase your earnings and become financially independent of your ex ( apart from child maint) and come to a fair share with regard child arrangements

GoldenOrb Tue 26-Jul-16 18:15:53

Rubi, I was asking if it was usual for spousal maintenance to be paid, or if a clean break was more common. If you read from that that I plan to try and screw over my husband to pay for me whilst I lounge around doing nothing, you are completely mistaken.

GoldenOrb Tue 26-Jul-16 18:17:30

milly is that figure based on csa estimates? He reckoned he would be paying 500pcm as child maintenance.

juneau Tue 26-Jul-16 18:21:27

It seems to me that judges are moving in the direction these days of each partner being self-sufficient after divorce. Child maintenance is one thing, but as for spousal support this seems to be getting less and less generous. So I wouldn't count on much, if I was you, particularly as a) you have a job and b) you could up your hours to bring in more money. You don't say how young your DC are, so its possible that spousal support could be awarded for a few years until all your DC are in FT school to allow you to work more easily, but surely if your DH wants 50/50 and you aren't agreeing to this you'll end up in court anyway?

juneau Tue 26-Jul-16 18:24:11

If it goes to court, btw, he's likely to get 50/50, unless there are mitigating circumstances. This, again, seems to be the norm these days.

OllyBJolly Tue 26-Jul-16 18:25:02

Financial independence is the best way forward- no doubt. It's not always that realistic.

Unfortunately, most women do compromise their earning potential because of caring responsibilities. It is these caring responsibilities that enable the other parent to earn salaries around £80k. So it's not a level playing field.

Most families live up to their income (and divorce is bloody expensive). This household had an income of £93k (gross) coming in, and this will shortly fall to around £26k. It's grossly unfair that it's left to the (usually female) parent to make up the shortfall.

Spousal maintenance is meant for this scenario. But as other posters say, it's not popular and it's difficult to get. Ironically, the only people I know who get it are people who are very wealthy anyway (maybe because they can afford the best lawyers?)

reallyanotherone Tue 26-Jul-16 18:25:49

*He earns about 80k, I work part time and earn 13k, if I worked full time I would earn 30k. He doesn't want to pay spousal maintenance, his argument is that he would happily have more time with the children leaving me more time to work more. I am not happy with a 50/50 arrangement which is what he wants. So we are quite stuck!

I'll work more, but not at the cost of less time with the children*

50:50 is the usual starting point for time with children if both parents want it. You are both parents, and the children shouldn't see less of their dad because you don't like it. A court will start with 50:50, and if your ex agrees, that is what will happen. If he wants to work less to spend more time with the kids he is also entitled to do that. One parent does not have more of a claim on a childs time than the other, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Clean breaks with regard to child maintenance does not happen any more, so that will not be agreed, as the CMS can overrule a court's clean break decision and impose child maintenance at any point after the divorce. Spousal maintenance is entirely different, and if you are working, again unlikely apart from a token amount.

GoldenOrb Tue 26-Jul-16 18:31:35

Ok, so spousal maintenance appears not to be common. That's fine, believe me I want financial independence again (owned a home before I met him) and hate the thought of relying on him for anything, especially money. I just needed to know what was "the norm" (appreciate that is a how long is a piece of string question). Thanks.

millymollymoomoo Tue 26-Jul-16 18:44:25

that figure was based on CMS calculator using gross figure of £1500 per week earning (80k per annum), for 3 children with 1-2 overnight stays per week. You can go on there yourself and input the figures and see how it varies depending on overnight stays etc

reallyanotherone Tue 26-Jul-16 18:56:33

50:50 isn't 2 nights a week though milly?

If he genuinely does 50:50 (more than 3 nights/week) £500 is the correct figure.

millymollymoomoo Tue 26-Jul-16 19:03:47

and actually while gross salaries appear wildy different you may find that net is not too dissimilar when all things are taken into consideration.

eg based on 80k gross his net take home per month is going to be around £4,000 per month. Out of this he will pay £950 per month in CMS (if per the CMS calculator). that leaves £3k ish
From your current £13,000k you would receive around £1,000 per month net +the CMS of £950 plus I presume child benefit of £200, and I expect some other forms of benefits such as working tax credit or child tax credits?? ( I don't know what these are)

I'm also assuming you also receive a higher % of assets in a split.

I appreciate this is over simplistic and doesn't take into consideration childcare costs (if any) and other additional items but its a general illustration to show how you might find that actually on a net basis you are may not be in a too dissimilar position which could be bridged as you increase your earnings over time.

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