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Can DH be asked for a second Form E ten years after a divorce?

(10 Posts)
amigagal Wed 12-Aug-15 15:14:02

When my husband and his ex wife were divorced 10 years ago, he completed a Form E to enable the financial settlement (as per the norm). The ex wife appealed several times, and last year (March 2014) got the maintenance order varied, but on worse terms for her (she no longer gets spousal maintenance). She has now put in a request for maintenance, and the court has requested that my husband puts in a new Form E prior to a hearing in November. Is this correct? Wouldn't the original Form E still stand? Would a Form E 10 years after the divorce even be relevant now? There are two children from his first marriage, who are now 17 (18 in a couple of months) and 16.

Collaborate Wed 12-Aug-15 16:30:11

Lets see if I have this right.

10 years ago there was a financial settlement on divorce that included continuing spousal maintenance. Nearly all orders like this dispose of all claims other than spousal maintenance.

In March last year that maintenance award ceased, and was presumably replaced by an award of a capital sum.

She has now applied for another maintenance order.

Is this new application for spousal maintenance, or is this an application for child maintenance? That's the only thing I can think of.

amigagal Wed 12-Aug-15 17:23:30

In March last year ex wife took it back to court on appeal and the order was varied, so rather than £600 a month for her plus £600 a month for the boys, it was changed to gradually stop when the youngest reaches 18. As of April 2017 she gets nothing.

My main question is, why is a new Form E needed?

Collaborate Wed 12-Aug-15 23:09:44

Well, firstly it won't have been an appeal after 10 years. It was a variation.

The spouse maintenance order was replaced with a fixed term spousal order (so she actually still gets it for now). It is either extendable or non-extendable - the order will make this clear (can you confirm?) but I'm going to assume it's non-extendable given the short duration of it.

It is still capable of being varied up until April 2017, so presumably that's what she's applied for. He'll have to fill in a new Form E to deal with it. If I were him I'd leave out answering questions about capital, and just say he can answer them if need be but his capital position either has not varied since last in court or state in what way it has varied.

amigagal Thu 13-Aug-15 10:34:31

It doesn't say non extendable but I guess as it is fixed term then that is the inference.

Unfortunately DH has just inherited half his mum's house, so there is a massive increase in capital. It would be unfair of me to suggest the new application and his inheritance are linked.

Collaborate Thu 13-Aug-15 11:04:33

A term maintenance order will say when it's playable until. If it's silent after that then it's extendable. If it's not extendable then it'll say so clearly. It will refer to s28(!A) of the Matrimonial Causes Act.

The law on extending term maintenance orders is a little unclear, as there have been conflicting cases. The more recent cases suggest that you need to question whether the purpose of the original term has been fulfilled - so that means you must go back to the recent past when the court imposed the term.

Look at the judgment (the words the judge spoke when making the order, explaining why it was made). Why did the judge feel the ex could become financially independent by the end of the term? Have things worked out as envisaged?

Also, the OP says she's put in a request for maintenance. Look at it again. It must say something else. What precisely does it say? It will say so on the form A. What boxes were ticked on the first page of this form?

amigagal Thu 13-Aug-15 16:47:25

Ex wife was supposed to get a job to support herself, which she states she hasn't been able to. I guess from that it means that the terms are not fulfilled, although it seems harsh that we have to support her even after the children have left home.

Her Form A states that she wishes to apply to vary a property adjustment order and to vary a periodical payments order.

Fidelia Fri 14-Aug-15 09:33:50

Did they both sign a consent order as part of the divorce? If not, then she may have a claim on the inheritance etc.

Collaborate Fri 14-Aug-15 09:56:35

Well, first of all a property adjustment order can't be varied.

The court can bring an end to the maintenance order and replace it with a PAO, lump sum or pension share, so the court may just treat it as that kind of application (I assume she's acting for herself).

Whether she has been able to obtain work is not the decisive factor. The reason why she hasn't found work is also very material. Can she show evidence of the jobs she has applied for? Has she been too narrow in her search for jobs? Is she unreasonably restricting her job hunting to a specialised area?

Go back to the original order and you should identify the implicit premise in the making of the term order. Work your way forward from there. If she's done nothing to try and work towards financial independence then the court may well refuse her application.

If she does get the term extended I suspect the extension to have a bar on it, so that she can't come back again to extend it further. Also as he now has a share in property that he can presumably readily realise the court would most likely capitalise it.

Collaborate Fri 14-Aug-15 09:57:48

Fidelia the OP has already said there was a court order. It matters not whether it was made by consent.

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