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Spousal maintenance(36 Posts)
Hi all. I am brand new member and just wanted to hear some thoughts on my (soon to be ) ex – wife’s claim to spousal maintenance.
feelings towards her and her claim for spousal maintenance.
I petitioned for divorce just over a year ago for adultery (she was and I think still is)seeing a work colleague. She as admitted to this in her response so I can apply for Decree Nisi(still need to do this)
Married for 12 years, 2 boys 8 and 6 (Im 42 she is 40) and we own 3 houses which have a total combined equity of around £700K. We both still live the main family home (I’m in the converted garage so we can stay out of each others space) She has worked full time through our entire marriage with kids having no impact on her career, and has had the same job for around 20 years now. She earns around £38K a year and has a final salary pension with a cash value of £279K. I am a high earner making in a good year 3 – 4 times more than she does. I have a normal contributory pension with a cash value at £120K
I want to be clear though in our relationship I am not seen as the breadwinner in terms of childcare, we both have worked full time and have always equally shared child caring responsibilities. Going forward we will continue this 50% all the way while both continuing with our jobs.
I proposed a complete 50 -50 split on all assets, This would give her enough to buy another place (3 bed detached) very close to where we live now and live comfortably with the boys 1 week on 1 week off (again just to reiterate 50% share on childcare) on a very low mortgage. So I thought this would be as simple as a divorce could be, we went to out first mediation MIAM session where she announced she needs £4250 (she came up with a ridiculous expense like £400 month holiday expense) to live each month on top of the 50/50 asset split (so take away her salary 4250 – 2400 = 1150 ) meaning I must pay her £1150 every month in spousal maintenance.
I’m still in shock about this but would like to hear from members what they think, especially ones that have had to fight spousal maintenance claims. My concern is I am a much higher earner than she is, but if you remove this factor she would be in a very good position to have all her “needs” covered. Additionally her pension is worth £160K more than mine and if I had to contribute to mine to match hers I would have less than her salary (£2400) left over every month.
Currently we have given up on mediation as she refuses to budge and we are about to start court proceedings.
Of course I will never let my boys suffer and contribute extra where needed (I do all ready .) If she was a stay at home mum then none of this would be an issue (I would happily pay spousal maintenance).
Very keen to hear thoughts on how the courts will view this and apologies for the novel length ramble.
I have no idea sorry but I think she's a CF.
You need a good solicitor here. Whether she has a claim or not I don’t know but seems unlikely. Make sure you claim against her pension too. Maybe a slightly higher asset split55:45 or 60:40 with no spousal would be better
What does your solicitor say?
Go on the child maintenance tool because as a higher earner it should calculate what you should pay her given your salary and 50/50 arrangement.
No court is going to give her spousal maintenance, it's very rare and usually because of specific circumstances and yours isn't it.
Legally what you're suggesting sounds right however there will be a big disparity between the childhood your children get at their mums and at yours.
You will be on £120,000 she on £38,000.
Presumably you will have a bigger nicer house, more disposable income for holidays, toys, clothes.....
How much do you pay for childcare now, or are you able to manage without because you are living in the same home and sharing parenting?
Is she suddenly going to have before and after school childcare expenses on top of existing living costs for half the week?
As I say, legally what you're suggesting is correct, 50:50 split means no child maintenance and she was the one who cheated.
The question is whether you want your children to experience the same lifestyle with both parents, and that is where you may want to consider supporting via absorbing some extra costs like childcare, uniforms, holidays etc.
What would be your contribution for CMS? If you can agree a figure for this then the gap is pretty close. .
Court could cost 25k each so consider if you can come to an agreement. You will have circa 10 years to pay CMS so don't fight too hard over a few hundred a month, (given your good income).
Is your take home around 8k per month? If so you can probadly easily afford 1k a month as you will have around 7k left over. In a few years the emotion will be less and you will be pleased that your joint parenting relationship is amicable for the children. It might help if you quantify how much you are debating rather than focus on her budget.
Use the CMS calculator even if you do 50:50 I think as the higher earner you should be contributing to the children.
Remember the money is towards your DC to have a comfortable life. They will go from joint parents income of 200k to 40k with mum and that is bound to impact them. You are unlikely to struggle on your salary but if she has a mortgage life will be tougher for her and by definition your children.
Would a global payment of around for 3-5 years be a good compromise?
Pensions should be equalised btw.
Child maintenance - you have a 50:50 split so isn’t payable.
SM - is extremely rare in the UK. I doubt very much your EW would be awarded it. She’s working and can support herself. Clean breaks have to be considered by the courts.
Get a good solicitor & some legal advice.
My now OH’s EW tried to claim SM (she wanted £8k a year plus her mortgage paid in full (£6k a year) plus an additional £2.5k CM (on top of the £7.5k) the CMS calculation. Her EX was earning circa £65k at the time.
Kids were nearing the end of primary school and she refused to work (hasn’t worked for over 10 years).
They went to the 3rd & final finance hearing. 1st judge threw her ridiculous demands out of court.
I wish I was in her boat. My divorce is likely to leave me with nothing. And £38k a year, 50/50 split (no childcare fees) and a TINY mortgage. I would be laughing.
Tie your money up. Car finance, whatever. Investments. Get a decent solicitor. She's being greedy - not practical nor reasonable.
Look at her thinking she needs a £400 a month for holidays! Now I know you make a nice wage but that's ridiculous! I would be amazed if any judge thought she deserved that!
How much would she really need? Ignoring inflated holiday funds etc, what is the minimum she'd need to be comfortable? Then how long would it take her to start earning this through training for a better job or a second side job? If spousal is awarded its time limited usually and based on needs not wants.
Ok so it's a myth that if you do 50/50 childcare you don't pay maintenance. You do if one of you is earning a lot and rightly so as this is about your children and creating equity across the households.
The calculator online will tell you what you need to pay monthly over and above the slpit of capital and assets and yes this includes both your pensions.
Courts want a clean break SM is very rare so she is going to be wasting money if you go to court over this.
@jeaux90 I had t realised the 50/50 no maintenance was untrue, sorry for incorrect information.
Just ran a quick check on the gov maintenance calculator and 3 or more nights a week with you, 2 children and an annual salary of £120000 would mean you would pay £55.86 per child per week, so £484.12 per month.
MN posters are always appalled at other women who get a decent settlement because the funds involved are is outside of their own experience. Given the big disparity in income she may have a case and if she is going to court her solicitor has probably advised this which you should think about.
It's not unreasonable for her to want to holiday with your children if this was their usual standard of living before the split and you earn four times what she does and can presumably easily afford to take them away in the future.
If I was her I would be wanting a split of assets that allowed me to keep a mortgage free house. If she is having to take out a mortgage why would she not try for some spousal maintenance to pay for that mortgage?
Under your proposed offer you will be much better off in a very short time due to earning 3/4 times as much.
I think the judge may surprise you in what you/she consider a "need" to be. Also - give some thought to the potential for child maintenance under the CMS formula
Sounds like you could offer to pay the CM as above. Better way to contribute to your kids then spousal as you aren't stuck with having to go back to court if you lose your job etc. Then her unmet "needs" (minus the holiday fund!) are only £250. You can easily argue that she can find that each month through a side job or overtime or a small promotion.
What have you as a family spent on holidays in the last few years?
And what is your own future holiday budget?
My ex husband earns in excess of £100k and I earn £20k and I was awarded spousal support of £700 a month for 8 years.
Sit down and go through the numbers again. See where there is room for negotiation in your finances and see if you can offer her something else in order to have a clean break. Seriously, go back and look at the figures. You've got a lot of leeway and assets you should be able to do a reasonable deal without going to court.
We cannot possibly tell if she's being unreasonable asking for £400 a month for holidays for her and the children. Think back to the last year you were together as a proper couple - how much did you spend on holidays that year?
I am slightly sceptical at your assertion that having two children has had no impact on your wife's career. Did she not take maternity leave? Have you had promotions that she hasn't?
What was the disparity in your earnings before the children?
There is a well documented pay penalty for women who have children (and inversely there is a pay premium for men) so I don't think you should dismiss the impact so lightly.
As for your question I think @Techway has the most considered and sensible suggestions. In the grand scheme of things it is only a few years and your actions now will resonate with your children for years to come.
Thanks everyone for the feedback really helpful.To be clear I am happy to cover all my kids costs to ensure they don't have a drop in standard of living. My issue is the EX using the money for her own purposes.
I just wanted to point out something on CM
I looked on the CMW website. There is no child maintenance to pay if you are sharing equally (from their homepage)
"You will not have anything to pay through the Child Maintenance Service if you are:
sharing care equally with the other parent
a full-time student with no income
Also this article explains child maintenance is only paid if one parent is non resident - which is not the case with my situation.
My solicitor is laughing off her claim saying she has no grounds for them. On top of the 50/50 split covering her needs he pointed out I would need to put away £2K + a month to match her pension which with additional commuting, childcare and kids costs reduces my income down to near hers.
The most important thing for me is to avoid that £25K court cost as essentially we are wasting our kids future money. I need to find a way where I can pay for our kids costs where required without her getting her hands on it.
@OhamIreally I will respond to your skepticism. I fully agree there is a society wide-pay penalty for women who have kids (although this is changing ). In our case I don't believe this is true. When we both met we worked in the same industry (IT) on about the same wage. By the time we fell pregnant 12 years later I had put myself through 2 degrees (while working full time and no sacrifice on her behalf) completely evolved my skill set and worked out the only way for rapid salary increase in my industry is to change jobs every 3 years. I was all ready a high earner before we had our first son. My ex decided she would rather stay in the same comfortable role earning her inflation matched yearly raise. No there is nothing wrong with that and now I really respect how she has found satisfaction in doing that but it was her choice (I always used to encourage her to change roles, upskill etc until I realised what was not her thing)
You sound very arrogant. You’re basically saying you worked Ft and did your degrees and did your 50% if household and child related tasks as well? I don’t believe it. Of course your wife made sacrifices. She would have picked up your slack, enabling you your career. She may have decided that 2 parents in high earning careers would have meant you’d need a nanny for the D.C. and didn’t want that.
You have plenty of opportunity to make up your loss of assets and any additional payments to your wife. Forget her pension, she earns less and can not add to it in a greater way than you can eventually. Why don’t you offer it to her as CM for 10years, take it or leave it. More palatable to you as you can say it’s for the boys (and it’s none of your business how she spends it actually), and she gets some extra help for 10 years and may be able to retrain etc if she wants to, if not, that’s on her.
Another question with your high earning job are you really going to be taking days off if the D.C. are ill or making sure you’re not working excessive hours on your week and running them to activities, parties and medical appts etc...
I know my H similarly earning could not/would not do 50/50 as his job is not conducive to it.
Dude you were looking at the wrong website. You need to go on the government one and it will be very clear there what CM you need to pay. A poster up thread even did the calculation for you.
And I've got to say that any reasonable person would be liking to create a sense of equity across the houses.
The pair of you sound like you need to give your heads a wobble and put your kids first.
To be clear I am happy to cover all my kids costs to ensure they don't have a drop in standard of living. My issue is the EX using the money for her own purposes
If she was a stay at home mum then none of this would be an issue (I would happily pay spousal maintenance)
I'm not sure you are clear. These two comments seem contradictory to me.
My solicitor is laughing off her claim saying she has no grounds for them. On top of the 50/50 split covering her needs he pointed out I would need to put away £2K + a month to match her pension
Why is your solicitor not suggesting a pension split?
I cannot get over the 'we fell pregnant'.
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