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Does spousal maintenance ever get awarded now?

33 replies

lem31 · 11/01/2017 17:27

My husband and I are just starting the separation route.

OH works long hours, earned £120,000 last year, on target the same this year, just under £100,000 the previous year. His basic is about 1/3 of this total, the rest commission based.

We have a 3yo

I quit my job (something I suggested, but he agreed to based on the long hours he worked), meaning he has been supporting us financially for 2 years. up until then, I contributed equally (owned house for 6 years total, married 4 years, almost 5)

I have started my own business, that is currently in debt. I am paid £8060 pa, though this is in the form of a directors loan. I have no other current income (which means basically, I have no income!!) If I get another job to supplement income I have the problem of childcare, and the risk that if I can't work on my own business I will go bankrupt because of the debts in the company.

I don't think the reasons for separation are relevant, but I am the one calling time on the marriage.

So, we are trying to figure out the nitty gritty best we can. My solicitor suggests I should be able to keep the house and apply for additional SM on top of the child maintenance, equalling roughly 1/3 of his monthly take-home.

He has refused to leave the house, saying I need to.

His solicitor has apparently said no court will kick him out of his house, that we should sell it or for him to stay in it.

We have agreed on custody that he will have him 2 nights, 1 full day plus extra holidays etc if he wants.

If I just move out to rented accommodation, with no spousal maintenance I will be living in a cheap rented place (by this I mean really grotty - Im not being a snob), and have very little money left over for anything like clothes for my boy. I will have no security of how long I can stay where I am, and I will find it very hard to find somewhere that will accept housing benefits and someone with a small child. But OH is adamant that I will not be granted SM because it is never given, despite what my solicitor says. Nor will I get the house.

So, getting to my question - IS SM ever granted in reality? If I have to move into rented accommodation having an extra couple of hundred in the bank would make a huge difference to my financial situation and the security that I have for my son. His take home has been consistently £5,500-£6000 a month. Sometimes it is more, sometimes less as it is commission based, but that would be a good average. I am suggesting CSA payments of £1000 pcm (according to the CSA website this is what he would need to pay) and an additional £500. I would take 50% of the house and everything else can be his. IE - I won't claim anything on his pensions, and won't ask him for anything more. I would be happy for these payments to decrease as my business is able to pay me and my income rises.
I would also need him to be a guarantor on my rented house, as I don't think a landlord would rent to me on the basis of my financial situation alone.

But if SM is never really paid in similar circumstances, I can't afford to rack up solicitors bills fighting for something that wouldn't happen in reality.

Any of your experiences would be really, really helpful! x

OP posts:
MrsBertBibby · 11/01/2017 18:39

Yes, it is, with higher earners like your ex. Obviously that's a pretty small percentage of the population!

Listen to your solicitor. If his solicitor is really saying what your ex says he's saying, then going on the info here, he's either not very good (there are a fair few poor lawyers out there) or he is saying whatever your ex wants to hear.

lem31 · 11/01/2017 18:47

Thank you. That is really helpful. I have been accused of being a money grabbing bitch, so am feeling a little unsure of myself right now!!

OP posts:
MrsBertBibby · 11/01/2017 18:52

Textbook. Bet you he's lying about what his solicitor says. Or giving you wildly edited highlighrs.

lem31 · 11/01/2017 18:59

My solicitor said no family lawyer he knows would say such a thing, and he is possibly just hearing what he wants to hear, which sounds about right!!

He is now getting it in writing so we can go to mediation. I was given a report detailing everything from income, assets etc and how a court would likely find if we couldn't agree, to give us some kind of idea what we should be looking at.

When I said I had spoken to a solicitor to verify what he thought I should do, i was told 'What kind of woman uses a solicitor to go against her husband. Seriously, who does that??'
Now, I may be crazy, but I think getting legal advice so I can protect the best interests of my son is sensible. I'm not deliberately trying to go after him, according to my solicitor I could go for a lot more than I am, so I'm really not the person he thinks I am. Oh well. I guess it was always going to get nasty...

OP posts:
titchy · 11/01/2017 19:03

So it's OK for him to go to a solicitor, but not you? Funny that...

Pestilence13610 · 11/01/2017 19:06

You are not crazy, he is being a wanker. Expect a bit of a battle.
Only a total cockwomble would think that he could have a solicitor but his wife (and child) could not.
You could probably get spousal maintenance until your 3yo is settled at school.
Remind him that nobody wins the divorce game, but children frequently lose it.

lem31 · 11/01/2017 19:15

Thank you guys!
Yes, sadly hypocrisy is a concept lost on him. I would be happy with until school. Hopefully my business will be turning a profit by then, and it would just give me a little security until that time.
I have been trying to work out whether it's better to take a financial risk, but keep ex sweet for childs sake, or whether I go for financial security but his dad will hate me (and apparently turn my son against me). I know how much those things affect a child, so trying to take the route that is best for him. I have to protect him, even if his dad won't. :(

OP posts:
WalkingDownTheRoad · 11/01/2017 19:18

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

user1477416713 · 11/01/2017 19:20

OP, your soon to be ex husband is trying it on.

Listen to your solicitor. Not to what your ex claims that his solicitor says. Your ex is not on your side. He isn't necessarily being truthful about what his solicitor says. I'd be very wary about going to mediation with him to be honest as he sounds the type to swear black is white to get his own way.
My understanding is that in law, the first principle in deciding terms of your divorce should be the best interests of your child. Moving your child into grotty rented accommodation while his father stays in the family home does not sound like his best interests.

Ilikesweetpeas · 11/01/2017 19:23

It is awarded, my sil got it and bil didn't earn a vast amount but she was a sahm . It was awarded for 3 years, the reasoning being that by then she could have completed a course and got a job .

CremeEggThief · 11/01/2017 19:24

Yes it is, although usually for a limited time. I receive a tiny amount, in return for relinquishing any claim to XH's pension, until DS (14 now, 11 at time of divorce) turns 19.

TreeTop7 · 11/01/2017 19:29

My old primary school friend was awarded spousal maintenance last summer. She is a SAHM for the same reasons as you are. They have a 2 year old. Her ex husband earns around 100k and also rents out his late mother's bungalow - so quite similar to your ex income wise.

He's definitely fibbing about what his lawyer has said.

lem31 · 11/01/2017 19:49

WalkingDownTheRoad - yes. He told me if I dared to 'kick him out of his own house' or take him to court, he would make sure my son knows that I kicked him out and what kind of person I really am. Nice.

OK, so that is very interesting. I know I need to listen to my solicitor, but I can't afford to keep calling him every other day with the new stuff being said by him, and whether he could be right, so I am just feeling my way with it and don't really have the confidence to just assume he is wrong. I want to believe he only wants the best for us, albeit slightly naive of me.

user1477416713 - I have to say, the idea of mediation terrifies me. I know he will try to bully me and we will get nowhere with it. But I guess we have to try at least. My solicitor has said though that even if we agree something in mediation, it isn't binding, so if I am bullied into something I will be able to retract if I need to later.

TreeTop7 - do you know what her SM payments are roughly? Just curious really.

Thanks again everyone. All makes me feel so much better. x

OP posts:
Secretsout · 11/01/2017 20:25

I could have wrote your post lem STBXH earns £200k, I started my own business 18 months ago and gave up my full time paid employment (with his full support) 6 months ago. Married 20+ years with 2 teens. My lawyer says I'll definately get SM but we haven't discussed amounts. I'm interested that CSA calc says you are entitled to £1000. Mine says £1600 for 2 kids? I'm working on the basis that he'll have to give me £2k per month for SM and CM but thats a pure guess. I've read stuff that says you can get up to half their take home pay but i think thats taking the mick 😬

MollyHuaCha · 11/01/2017 20:42

No, you are not money grabbing. When couples split, women often do quite badly financially and it affects their quality of life. I wd advise to stay on very friendly terms with H - animosity doesn't help. And you definitely need to be guided by yr solicitor who should be acting for you alone. Good luck Smile

Rainbowqueeen · 11/01/2017 20:49

Leaving aside the issue of SM I think you should be asking for a lot more than just half the house to be honest.
Has your solicitor advised exactly what he thinks is reasonable? Do you have your own pension.
Have you talked about a meshed order for the house?

If you are worried about mediation, sit down and come up with a few phrases that you can roll out if he is being a bully. Eg I will think about that and get back to you on our next session.
I've never done mediation but is it acceptable to take notes so you can record what has happened?

I wouldn't be surprised if he sacks his solicitor soon and looks for another one who will tell him what he wants to hear.
Good luck

lem31 · 12/01/2017 07:56

SecretsOut - its based on number of nights too, and he will have him 1-2 nights per week. Thats what the CSA have advised, anyway.

MollyHuaCha - Believe me, I am trying to stay on friendly terms with him. Before Xmas I found out he has cheated and we still lived together very amicably for the sake of our son. He has has hurled abuse at me as soon as he hears something he doesn't like, and I have had to just take it all. I am doing everything in my power to be amicable, but he seems determined for a fight. He isn't even considering what is right for our son, just how this affects him. He can't see that I need money in order to survive, just that I am trying to screw him over (which I'm not. Ive made a suggestion that he pay me less than my solicitor has said, and that I don't take the route of staying in the house, so he can do what he wants with it, all to keep the peace). Its very frustrating.

Rainbow Queen - Having just gone through the notes, he said 60-70%, so you're right. I don't have pension, no. He told m the other day he has an old pension worth £7k, and he reckoned his current one probably has a similar amount in. Yesterday he told me they have a combined total of about £400, so god knows what is actually reality. He is talking with several solicitors to get the full facts, so god knows whats actually being said. Apparently he knows all about what my company is worth, and what the potential earnings are and that will be taken into account. Somehow I doubt that as we are just starting out so our end of year books show a pretty substantial loss lol!!

I am going to talk to my solicitor this morning again and move out. I can't take the amount of abuse being flung my way anymore. Its not ideal, but he is getting more and more unpleasant and my son needs to be shielded from this as much as possible. I am also slightly concerned for what may happen if we stay and fight. I think getting out is going to be the safest option to stop his anger tbh. Wish me luck - its going to go down like a total shit storm!!!

OP posts:
Blinkyblink · 12/01/2017 17:39

STBX on £145k

I'm getting £3000, half is CM half is SM

He's talking out of his arse.

This was agreed last month btw

Blinkyblink · 12/01/2017 17:42

He has the 1 night a week

Blinkyblink · 12/01/2017 17:42

2 children

Blinkyblink · 12/01/2017 17:52

Your husband is in for one hell of a shock.

Quite honestly, it will be delightful when you two sit on front of a mediator. He is going to wither up in front of your very eyes, when he realise the situation.

As for pensions, he is out and out lying. On a salary that high he would have been no doubt receiving some tasty pension contribution from employers. I earned less than half of that and my employer was contributing 12.5% of my salary on to a pension pot. For the big wigs it was 18%!

CheekyNandosChicken · 12/01/2017 18:01

My ex is on similar. We've agreed on 50/50 split of the house but I have a claim on his pension. He's playing games. His opinion of you does not matter. The kids know who is there for them in a crisis situation. There is nothing that you can do to shield your son from his dad. His dad is an adult who chooses to behave the way he wants to and won't be nicer to you just because you accept less money.

Peppapogstillonaloop · 12/01/2017 18:32

He sounds horrid and as pp said he won't be any nicer if you go for less be is going to be a wanker whatever so go for as much as you really need..

Funnyfive · 12/01/2017 19:25

I wouldn't move out. My friend was told that as soon as you move out you are demonstrating that you can provide a home for you and your son and therefore you have a fight on your hands proving that he needs to provide you a home I.e to stay in the house or that the house should be sold and Another smaller one bought for you and do. It's tough but she stuck it out for 3 years, and he was abusive at times too.

Setting spousal maintenance aside, surely you have a right to the house, or another house bought by him for you and your son until he is 18, I'd be more worried about getting yourself a decent place to live. My friends and her ex had to sell their house but he had to put a load of money towards another smaller house for her and the kids.

BorisStoleMyWig · 12/01/2017 19:36

I got it awarded in 2014. My ex earns £21k a year of declared income but the judge knew he was deliberately suppressing his income so child maintenance would be minimised, and put his income roughly 3 x that.

I was a sahm to four children aged (at the time) 16, 13, 6 and 2. I have spousal maintenance of £650 pcm for seven years, linked to the consumer price index, and there is leave to apply for an extension if it's required. I also get £250 pcm in child maintenance, arranged via the child maintenance service.

I'm using the seven years effectively and training as a midwife so I'll be qualified before it runs out and more able to support myself, which was the judge's intention.

It's not usual to get it but in certain circumstances (mine included) it can be awarded.

Good luck!

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