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Ex threatening Court Action Unless i Agree to His Maintenance Offer

(80 Posts)
Joy5 Fri 04-Oct-13 11:55:40


Been trying to sort the finances out for the past 12 months with my ex (we divorced at the beginning of this year), i made an offer two weeks ago asking for spousal and child maintenace until our youngest leaves FT education in six years. I'm back at university now, and hopeful of getting a much better paid job in two years time, then i can try and improve my credit rating so i'll be able to take on a mortgage on a family size home myself.

My ex is saying (his solicitor has spoken to mine this morning) unless i agree to him ending maintenace when our youngest is 18 is will file court papers next week.

Has anyone been in this position, and braved it out? Did your ex actually file court papers, or did they threaten too but then come to an agreement before doing it?

Really don't know what to do about this, am on a low income and can't afford the legale fees for a court case, but if i agree to my ex's offer, we'll be selling the family home in 3 years time, and trying to rent with my bad credit rating.

Hoping someone whose been in this position can give me some advice.

STIDW Fri 11-Oct-13 17:37:56

I agree, the probability of the courts ordering someone to pay SM is low when the payer is on an income of £40k, they have their own living costs to meet and there are debts to pay. SM doesn't depend just on the needs of one party, but the amount of disposable income and the ability to pay of the other.

However every case is treated individually depending on the particular facts. It isn't at all outside the realms of possibility for the courts to grant SM when the payer's income is less than £40k. The only binding opinion is that of a judge at a final hearing. I've certainly seen cases where people have been badly advised on the internet by barrack room lawyers that they stand no chance of SM when the outcome has been the court has disagreed and awarded SM.

I'm not a lawyer, but the best person to advise about probabilities of a successful SM application is a solicitor who hasn't only studied law but also done years of training and then completes further training year in, year out, and works with the local courts on a day-to-day basis.

Khaleese Thu 10-Oct-13 07:20:10

OP I don't think you can expect him to pay for it all. 40k is not a lot of money at all.

I think you should get spousal support from him ( maybe for life) and child support until 18.

Sadly I think your on your own after that. it's not his concern how you pay your rent\mortgage after that.

The loans ( mortgage + loan) were taken out jointly, you knew the risks. You still have to pay your share. You need to set up payment plans for these. ( £1 a month if neccessary)

Sorry for you, it's a shitty situation.

allnewtaketwo Thu 10-Oct-13 06:54:24

I think the OP has wildly unrealistic expectations about how far her exes 40k+ salary will stretch. He's paying her whole mortgage, paying off a loan they BOTH decided to take out, despite the OP not working ( why on earth would someone without a job sign a credit agreement on top of a large mortgage when they have no equity?). He's also now being expected to pay child maintenance for an adult and spousal maintenance. OP regardless of the outcome of the court case I think you really need to educate yourself financially. One salary can only go so far. You were advised last year to take in a lodger but clearly think you shouldn't. Your ex clearly can't afford the mortgage as he has defaulted several times. Despite him wanting to sell when your youngest turns 18, you have no interest in doing this, despite a lot of people having advised you that this is the norm. It's really sounding like you're determined to dig your heels in and punish him.

HerRoyalNotness Wed 09-Oct-13 23:11:31

While i understand your predicament, does your H only earn 40kish? How can he support two households and pay your mortgage on that?

Was the loan beneficial to both of you? If so, you should be repaying half of it.

I take it you are in a university town, can you rent out an extra room to a student to help pay your bills/debts?

I see you are trying to get yourself in a better financial position, full credit to you, but i think you are pushing too much financial responsibility on to your H and expecting for the status quo in living to remain at his expense. This isn't practical. However it turns out, I wish you luck

WithConfidence Wed 09-Oct-13 22:38:39

Joy I don't have any legal advice, I just wanted to say sorry for your loss and that it sounds like you are doing a good job trying to look after and plan for your children.

Joy5 Wed 09-Oct-13 22:25:37

Thanks misreadings, helps a lot to get a realistic response. Been told i stand a good chance of spousal maintenance for life, but once i'm qualified in 2 years time, i'll do my best to apply for a new job and to re mortgage myself. Then i'll take great pleasure in telling my ex he can keep his 40k+ salary, and i hope it brings him much happiness! Thats why i've only asked for maintenace until my youngest leaves ft education, rather then for longer.

'Most people who can't get a mortgage rent instead', i've explained several time above, i've tried to rent and got turned down on my credit rating. Its so bad simply because my ex defaulted on my share of the loan last year, he now pays his share of the loan, and a payment to a debt management company for my share of the loan. If i could rent i would, i'd get my rent paid by housing benefit, and maintenance would be paid direct to me rather then the building society, i'd be hundreds of pounds better off each month. A position i would love to be in, unfortunately its not an option.

misreadings Wed 09-Oct-13 21:52:58

Joy - I wouldn't bother answering these responses and please, listen just to the qualified lawyers on here and to your solicitor.

I cannot believe what miserable mean attitudes underpin these attitudes above. The aim of the law is to leave both parties in an equal position after divorce, and if one of the parties has a very high paying job and good earning prospects for the future, whilst the other doesn't, there will be an expectation of levelling that out. The person with the high paying job is in that position often completely thanks to the fact that the other person in the marriage did the non-paying work. Why should they be left near to bankruptcy at the end of the marriage, whether their children are grown or not?

This thread is almost enough to stop any SAHMs ever seeking legal advice on MN, should they ever dare to think that the marriage was a partnership of equals whether they brought home the bacon or brought up the children. I hate to break it to some of you, but some spouses receive maintenance for life. Some spouses receive 70% or even 80% of the assets even when their partner paid for most of it. Shocking, isn't it?

allnewtaketwo Wed 09-Oct-13 21:08:23

I really dont think its you exes responsibility to ensure you can get a mortgage in 3 years time, when the children are adults. Most people who can't get a mortgage rent instead.

Joy5 Wed 09-Oct-13 20:07:44

The loan is in addition to the mortgage.

I will have obtained a qualification to apply for a much better paid job in two years time. Until i start applying i don't know how long it will take to be successful in applying for jobs, then i need to obtain a mortgage.

My ex wants to stop paying the mortgage in 3 years time, i can't rent due to my bad credit rating (hoping i'll have sorted that out by the time i need to re mortgage), tried several times and i fail the credit check. I've tried to re mortgage but don't currently earn enough to buy even an ex council house where i live. Thats why i'm asking for maintenance until my youngest leaves f/t education, it gives me time to find a new job, and to re mortgage well before mantenance ends.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 09-Oct-13 20:04:51

I think you are asking way too much. You want the house, child maintainence, spousal support and to not pay any joint debts! No wonder he wants to go to court. What does he get?

Theres no guarantee after studying you will get a better job, your children dont sound young so no reason not to work more hours or move house.

allnewtaketwo Wed 09-Oct-13 19:03:46

Joy5 by loan do you mean mortgage?

If you have a better qualified job in 2 years why would you be homeless in 3 years?

Joy5 Wed 09-Oct-13 18:46:08

The only issue isn't just child maintenance, it includes a very large loan, my ex wants to transfer half of it over to me.

I just don't have the money to pay the loan. It would take my ex less then a year to earn the amount of the loan, it would take me over five years to earn that amount.

If i agree to his latest offer, i'd be responsible for a very large loan i can't afford to pay, i'd be looking at bankruptcy, my credit rating is very bad at the moment, i need to improve it to stand a chance of being to mortgage in my own name, once i've completed my university course and then found a job at the new grade.

As suggested above, i don't want to 'squabble' in court or have this lasting any longer, but my ex hasn't offered anything thats finanancially viable. I think i'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, if i accept his current offer i'll be declared bankrupt, by going to court i'll have to represent myelf. My ex will presumably be able to carry on paying legal fees. I don't feel very confident about my chances in court right now.

Much as i'd like a clean break now, if i can't afford to pay the household bills completely on my own, i can't manage without some help from my ex. I've gone to university just so i can apply for better qualified jobs in two years.

I've spoken to my solicitor this afternoon, shes told me not to make any decisions until i actually receive the court papers in a few days. She thinks hopefully a decision will be reached before a court date, and that it will be fair. Leaving us homeless in 3 years is hardly fair, despite what has been posted above.

Collaborate Wed 09-Oct-13 13:48:43

If the only issue between you is the duration of child maintenance, then for the reasons given by prh you might as well settle. ~Agreeing to a CM order until age 18 doesn't mean you are prevented from applying back to court to extend the duration, though the CSA can always take over an arrangement or order until the child leaves secondary education.

prh47bridge Wed 09-Oct-13 13:34:06

Spousal maintenance can be for a fixed period or until one of the parties dies. Unless there is evidence that the OP would become self sufficient the courts may award spousal maintenance for life. If the courts would award the OP spousal maintenance for life (or, indeed, for any period longer than 6 years) agreeing to stop when her youngest is finishing higher education would indeed be stopping it early.

allnewtaketwo Wed 09-Oct-13 13:05:45

"By asking for maintenance until my youngest son is leaving HE i'm actually stopping it early"

What do you mean early? Earlier than what?

Joy5 Wed 09-Oct-13 12:57:49

I've been told i have a strong case for spousal maintenance due to my very low income and my ex's high one, and thats for a long time to come.

By asking for maintenance until my youngest son is leaving HE i'm actually stopping it early.

Its just the child maintenace after 18 my ex is arguing about and a large loan.

I've been told in the last hour my ex is filing for court, so least i know for sure what is happening now.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 09-Oct-13 12:56:55

You are right of course prh47bridge, a consent order would only be non-contestable for a year. Legal advice is definitely required.

prh47bridge Wed 09-Oct-13 12:44:55

you should be able to successfully argue for maintenance for your son until he finishes full time education

No the OP will not be able to argue for this. The courts do not have jurisdiction over child maintenance. They can include child maintenance in a consent order (i.e. where both parties agree) but if the parents cannot agree the case must go to the CSA/CMS. Even if there is a consent order either parent can go to the CSA/CMS after 12 months and the consent order would cease to have any effect. CSA/CMS maintenance applies until the child finishes A levels or equivalent. If the child goes to higher education they have to apply for maintenance themselves through the courts.

For spousal maintenance the best advice will come from the OP's solicitor who should be in possession of all the facts and understands the relevant law.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 09-Oct-13 12:09:34

Joy, as far as I know you should be able to successfully argue for maintenance for your son until he finishes full time education. You may also be able to argue for some on going support for your DS with ASD.

What I think you will struggle with is the request for spousal maintenance. Financial settlements are not about morality (if only there were for some of us) they are about the finances that are available and the legal precedent or guidance that you can use to support your requests.

I think your argument for spousal maintenance could be a tough one & you need good legal advice fairly urgently. If a solicitor doesn't think the judge will award you spousal maintenance, then it may well be more cost effective to accept your ex-H's current offer.

Joy5 Wed 09-Oct-13 12:00:29

There isn't a lot of equity in the house, before my ex moved out i asked him for us to re-mortgage with the intention of us moving into a smaller house with obviously a smaller mortgage that i stood a chance of paying myself in the future.

After moving out, my ex cancelled the mortgage application, which is why we're left in a large house i can't afford to heat properly.

My youngest son is still at school, my middle son is 19 but has aspergers, and has had serious depression since his Dad moved out, including being suicidal.

It is almost certain they will still need a home in 3 years time. I will try my hardest with my new qualification, to obtain a job at a much higher salary then i'm currently earning, then hopefully i'll be able to re-mortgage in my own home.

As for the claim i've denied access to my ex, i've got legal action due to his violence towards me and my home last year to keep him away, and no he can't just walk into my home when ever he chooses. He pays the mortgage as maintenance, it doesn't give any rights to use our home.

I'm not asking for my ex to support our two younger sons as adults either, i've never said that. I've asked him to carry on supporting us until my youngest son reaches 21 and he finishes his education. He will be a full time student, not an adult.

Thanks for everyones support above.

Rockchick1984 Wed 09-Oct-13 11:15:15

Joy how much equity is there in the property? Could you suggest that you sell the property and he can sign over enough equity for you to buy a small 2 bed house rather than paying you for the next 3 years - would mean you have this forever rather than it ceasing in a few years time?

PostBellumBugsy Wed 09-Oct-13 10:51:24

I have sort of been through this and I struggled to get spousal maintenance until my DCs went to primary school - let alone left uni!

I imagine the OP has been married longer than I was, given the older children, so it is possible that her solicitor could argue compensation for having given up work for so long, that re-training is necessary in order to earn.

However, there are other factors that need to be considered too. Presumably, the OPs ex could equally argue that a family home is no longer required, given that the children will be or are already legally adults and will be leaving shortly, so that there isn't a "need" for the OP to get a higher paid job to support a large mortgage, that is a desire, not a need.

It definitely needs a good solicitor to advise.

Viviennemary Wed 09-Oct-13 10:48:24

I think in this case the Ex is doing absolutely the right thing in approaching the courts for their decision. And hope it will be a fair one.

allnewtaketwo Wed 09-Oct-13 10:40:40

I offered my view, such is the tendency on public forums. The OP has previously disagreed with legal advice offered on this forum, from lawyers. Perhaps an appointment with a RL lawyer would be more appropriate.

misreadings Wed 09-Oct-13 10:37:58

Thankfully allnew what you think is completely irrelevant. The OP has come on to ask for legal advice, not for random lectures about the morality of her actions.

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