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Spousal maintenance

(12 Posts)
boredbylaundry Tue 20-Oct-15 20:53:42

Trying to look online for answers... Seems rather a " grey area" .
Also I posted this in legal matters too ... Hope that is ok to do

Been divorced 4 years , DS 9 lives with me ... Diagnosed with mild ASD . Sees his father 1 or 2 weekends a month ( XH choice it is not more as he is " not my babysitter" .. Nice guy )

Acrimony from ex towards me has never gone away . Frequently verbally abusive in email communication regarding handover times etc . I divorced him as he was physically abusive done , dealt with ... Been for counselling and moved on . Am a survivor not a victim .

Ex is a high earner . Divorce was long and drawn out , had to go to court to fight . It was horrible . At final hearing was " awarded " child maintenance and spousal maintenance along with proceeds of sale of FMH . ( I don't think the judge liked my ex much )

I retrained and now work part time .. I had to give up my former career as a result of an injury when ex hit me on one occasion . We live in a modest house in an expensive part of the country , my mortgage is high but I chose the area for the school catchment so I take full ownership for that . I spend my spousal maintenance on the mortgage .

My question is ... I would like to move in with my DP of 2 years . Fabulous, lovely man , great with DS and his own. Very much treats all the kids as equals. He lives in another town and the long distance thing is becoming increasingly difficult to juggle with our work and kids . I have found a super school, albeit a private one .

I have tried for quiet some time to discuss this with my ex ... Plans for how he can continue to see his son regularly. And also finances .
I feel that if my DP is paying the mortgage on our new home I would use my spousal maintenance to pay for his school and suggested it stop when he is 18 or 21 . I asked XH if he was amenable... Just got a load of verbal. His response to everything is " you shouldn't have divorced me then if you want private school for your child " . But my argument is that because of his ASD our kid struggles with large class sizes and this is going to become worse at secondary level .

Spousal maintenance is a joint lives order .. It specifies Until I either remarry or my ex applies for a variation .

So if I move in with DP can ex just stop paying it ? WHAT IS THE LAW ?

I haven't ruled out the idea of marriage in the future but it's not on my radar right now.
DP does pay for extras like holidays and helps out with things for my son but he has 3 DC to support.

Does anybody have any experience of this???

Would be so grateful.

I am reluctant to get a solicitor involved unless I have to ... My ex spent a fortune on a barrister during the divorce ( I had legal aid as it was a domestic violence case but I shan't qualify again ) and I just so resented this money not going to our son .

Rockchick1984 Tue 20-Oct-15 23:19:53

Your ex can't just stop paying. However, he would have a strong case to apply for a variation on the original order due to your change in circumstances.

If your ex is a high earner you must be getting a reasonable amount of child maintenance, can you use that towards the school fees?

boredbylaundry Wed 21-Oct-15 09:17:53

Thank you rock chick

Actually the child maintenaince is fairly low ... I think it was set at 10 % of his salary before bonuses .
The spousal maintenaince is significantly higher

shartsi Wed 21-Oct-15 19:10:49

My husband was able to successfully get spousal maintenance to his ex wife stopped when she started cohabiting. His argument that cohabiting was a form of common law marriage and widely practiced in modern UK, therefore he should not pay to support someone who lived and shared bills like a married person, but who was not ready to make it legal. The judge at the family court at the royal courts of justice agreed with this logic.

Imperialleather2 Thu 22-Oct-15 07:38:04

I understand that cohabiting can also trip you into the remarriage,trap. You need to see a solicitor

boredbylaundry Thu 22-Oct-15 08:20:39

Thank you so much everybody
Yes it does look like more money needs to be handed over to solicitors ..... Does anybody have any idea how much I might be expected to pay for a consultation ?

My solicitor who dealt with my divorce was super but retired shortly after.

When my ex took me to court post divorce to get DS and self booted out of FMH i represented myself ( and lost against his fancy pants barrister ) . I did however get legal advice first from somebody at my old solicitors firm .... it was a charge of nearly £800 just for a one off appointment and the associated admin. She insisted on this upfront .

Aargh hmm

I suspect DP would find the money to help me but I so want to keep things separate and also why should he

wannaBe Thu 22-Oct-15 08:36:46

tbh there is very little difference really between cohabiting and remarriage, and while I do get where you're coming from but tbh I can see why your ex wouldn't want to continue to pay spousal maintenance once you're living with someone else, and as the clause says if you remarry I can well imagine that the courts would agree.

My xh pays me spousal maintenance atm and the consent order states for ten years or until I remarry or cohabit, and I don't disagree with this. In my own position I would far rather be financially independent, so I am trying to get back into work (previous sahm but also am VI which puts me at a disadvantage) at which point I would like to stop the spousal maintenance of my own accord, unless dp can move in with me before then...

I know you are currently reliant on this money, but do you really want to be financially dependent on your ex for the rest of your life? I would seek legal advice, but while there are certainly some things which are unreasonable, e.g. wanting to force you out of the family home with a disabled child, there are some which are not, and regardless of what an unpleasant person your ex is, it's not unreasonable for him to not want to be supporting his ex's new partner living with her, iyswim.

19lottie82 Thu 22-Oct-15 13:33:51

The judge should have set conditions as to when your ex can stop paying spousal maintenance. When you move in with someone OR marry again, may be one of them.

pinkprimroses Thu 22-Oct-15 14:29:04

My DH reduced the spousal maintenance he pays his ex when she started to cohabit, but only slightly. He just reduced it by an amount that her DP was assumed to be now contributing towards bills. My DH is a much nicer man than your ex sounds, but my understanding of it is that this was all he was allowed to reduce it by. If his ex actually married the man she lives with, the spousal maintenance would stop, but just co-habiting is considered quite differently - her DP is assumed to be paying his share of bills, but he's not assumed to be supporting her, like he would if they were married.

It's worth shopping around with solicitors I think. They should be able to give you a rough quote, or at least an hourly rate.

boredbylaundry Thu 22-Oct-15 18:54:04

Pink primroses do you mind me asking how long ago this was
?
I have been researching online and it would appear they're were some changes in the laws in February this year following a judges ruling on a particular divorce settlement case .

pinkprimroses Thu 22-Oct-15 21:33:55

It was about 7 years ago that the order was made, and only a few months later that it was altered I think. I'm not familiar with any changes that have happened recently.

boredbylaundry Thu 22-Oct-15 21:58:32

Thank you primroses

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