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spousal maintenance confusion

(18 Posts)
scrumpymadge Sun 18-Aug-13 10:14:39

Really confused as to what is a reasonable amount to try for. Ex earns £85k, I'm self employed and earn £7k but in the interests of maximising my earning capacity have said I can increase this to £10k by taking on more work. I'm asking for spousal maintenance ( I gave up city career to bring up our children meanwhile his city career flourished). With tax credits, earnings, child maintenance and spousal, my income will be 2k more than him. Is this reasonable given I have the 2 children to home and support? I'm asking for £750 per month spousal and 20% child maintenance (with reduction because he has them stayover once a week). My solicitor originally said I should try for £1000 spousal but we have now reduced this and I've said I will try and take on more work. Just wanting to know if this is the right thing to do? So confusing having my solicitor whom I trust advise me one thing and family members (parents!) going mad at me telling me I'm being too soft, backing down to £750. Any advice welcome.

This is your main opportunity to get your money dealt with, so make the most of it. I ended in court for this with legal fees of £50k (just mine, he had more) but we had ASSETS that in were in dispute too so I had to gamble and fight for those. I have ended with Global periodic payments which cover child and spousal maintenance. So theoretically they cannot be increased or decreased ( I liked the security). Mine are stepped and are giving me 5 years to get back into (career changed also from the City) but still professional work. Believe me his lawyers will try to argue very hard that you have capacity to return to City financial work - I had to do a lot of evidence to show that my return to previous earning capacity was unlikely/impossible.

I didn't want to be dependent on anything from the govt - it is so subject to change (ie reducing) so argued that on that too. Although I am still under court order to claim what I am entitled to (Dreadful my ex earns a VERY high salary).

My barrister was hard on me so I knew where boundaries were - they try to make parties on equal footing if it has been a medium to long marriage and clean break is preferable, not always achievable with children.

So do some calculations to see what net income after tax and NI your ex will have. Then look at his reasonable expenses ie travel, food, petrol, mortgage, bills. I was actually quite shocked how little my ex had.

I can live with my settlement and that was important to me.

toosoppyforwords Sun 18-Aug-13 12:32:54

Not sure Anyone can answer this in isolation, as you don't mention length of marriage, age of children, other assets etc. Presumably you will also be getting a sizeable % of house etc? £85k sounds alot but take home a month is probably around 4.5k PR mth. By giving you 20% child maintenance and £750 spousal he's going to be giving you around 1700 per month-and I'm assuming he'll have to buy a new place etc.
Are you looking for interim spousal or permanent? And I agree with above that His lawyers will be saying you need to support yourself.

scrumpymadge Sun 18-Aug-13 13:01:12

thank you both.

we were married for 10 years, 4 years living together prior to marriage.

we are splitting house 70:30 in my favour, I am offering to buy his share out now.

no assets to speak of just car and 2 motorbikes (he's keeping bikes, I'm keeping car), few savings we had are being split 50:50.

children are 8 and 6 he sees them once a night overnight.

scrumpymadge Sun 18-Aug-13 13:04:12

I'm looking at spousal on a joint lives basis.

He'll be paying £800 in child maintenance as he gets a reduction for having them 1 night a week.

You are on the money with his take home figure.

ivykaty44 Sun 18-Aug-13 13:05:23

Tax credits will be changing over from this october 2013 and you will not be entitled to the new scheme due to your spousal maintenance income.

scrumpymadge Sun 18-Aug-13 13:08:20

my solicitor and I have calculated that I'm better off with the self employment rather than earning back in the city on similar salary to what I left, once child care and travel deductions are made, even with child tax credits considered.

scrumpymadge Sun 18-Aug-13 13:09:48

really ivy??? oh god...I need to look into this don't I? Shouldn't my solicitor know this?

ivykaty44 Sun 18-Aug-13 13:28:57

our income from any source will be taken into account along with your savings - so if you have more than 16k in savings this will also be taken into account.

Also you will not be able to stay working part time and be made to go for job interviews for full time work - not in your fields but any full time work to get you of benefits.

This is a big problem for people starting up a business as the new system will not allow it and they will be made to get a full time job if the business isn't making enough money from 12 months in, when new business usually take two to three years to turn a decent profit with the first year you are lucky to break even.

I am not sure about CM but SM would be deemed as income and along with your 10k income you would have a 19k income add to that CM of 20% of 85k and there is not a hope in hell of you qualifying for Universal Credit as the benefit cap is around 25k from benefit and you will be above that income to start with, without any benefit...!

scrumpymadge Sun 18-Aug-13 13:36:24

oh......this is not good news. I will speak with solicitor in the morning. This really affects my financial proposal now. damn! thanks so much ivykat

ivykaty44 Sun 18-Aug-13 13:38:17 your solicitor should know about UC and spousal maintenance

if you have over 6k in savings this will also be counted as unearned income along with the SM

Hope this helps - as better to get things straight now than further down the line afterwards

ivykaty44 Sun 18-Aug-13 13:39:38

here is the other page about unearned income and savings

toosoppyforwords Sun 18-Aug-13 13:56:20

Am really surprised the notion of joint lives maintenance is even being entertained tbh-i'm not a lawyer though. Just not seen anyone get it, especially with these salaries....only where considerable assets (think millions). Interim yes, but all the cases I've seen full time work was expected - presume you are in 30s maybe 40s. No reason why you can't work full time.
Anyway, hopefully one of the lawyers in here can advise you more.

scrumpymadge Sun 18-Aug-13 15:07:50

thanks toosoppy.....I just am not sure what am or am not likely to get. Great to have some guidance. yes i could get full time work, but for what i could earn the salary would be practically eaten up in childcare. the self employment gives me more income without childcare to pay. thanks ivykat....I read this. I will speak to solicitor tomorrow and see if it would affect my situation and how.

ivykaty44 Sun 18-Aug-13 15:44:58

Wait for them to suggest full time work and agree on the condition that cm is raised to cover child care costs as they are his children as well as yours and the burden of cost should fall equally?

babybarrister Sun 18-Aug-13 15:56:06

Firstly joint lives maintenance v common in London and south east - less so outside SE. Courts only interested in everyone's net income post NI and tax so look at those figures.

scrumpymadge Sun 18-Aug-13 22:22:36

thanks Ivykat, I'll do that.

thanks too baby barrister. yes we are in SE so that is useful to know.

scrumpymadge Thu 29-Aug-13 11:31:40

Ok so he's not agreed to joint lives basis and he says we've reached a stalemate and would seem we need to go to court. My solicitor says we can't be sure if a judge would be pro-joint lives or not, even though we live in South East. She has advised that I could consider the maintenance going to a nominal amount once kids have finished Uni (approx 16 years time). Then if I am not financially stable I can apply to have this increased.

Just don't know what to do for the best!

We live in commuter belt in the south east, I am early 40's, kids are primary school age, I gave up career in City as a legal secretary to look after children, his career has flourished - he is now earning approx £100,000pa, I have established a business which is growing with a current profit of around £12,000pa. I currently receive child tax credits and working tax credits, although the prospect of the Universal Credit has put a spanner in the works, which my solicitor is trying to find a solution to. We have equity of £90,000 in our house, I have offered him 30% buy out. But if we I consider dropping the joint lives request, should I ask for all the equity?

Just could do with some advice as I am just at a loss as to what to do for the best. Fight it or compromise? All advice appreciated. Thank you.

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