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Spousal Maintenance

Posted by Sparky's Dream 
Spousal Maintenance
December 10, 2020 12:14AM
Help!

My wife (married 10 years) is asking for Spousal Maintenance along these terms;

"Your client to pay to our client maintenance pending suit until the date of Decree Absolute (assuming that the house has completed before Decree Absolute) and afterwards periodical payments. Payments shall be at a rate of £2,300.00 per month in advance by standing order. Payments shall start on the date of sale of the matrimonial home and shall end of the first to occur of:
a. Your clients death;
b. Our clients remarriage;
c. Your clients retirement.
d. Further order of the court

Your client to undertake to provide our client with details annual of what insurance provisions he has in place to secure the maintenance payments contained in the order, with your client also undertaking to be responsible for ensuring that such insurance policies remain in place and the trustees are specifically instructed to pay outstanding maintenance in the event of death to our client. Your client shall nominate our client to receive such percentage of his death in service benefit under his pension schemes or such percentage of any insurance policy he has from time to time to cover the annual periodical payments to the wife to the end of the term"

My wife is 38, I'm 46. We've been married 10 years. Spousal maintenance at this rate until I retire is half a million pounds! Who would provide an insurance policy that does the above? Especially considering the I've had a stroke and am diagnosed with heart problems and hypertension. The irony of leaving the marriage in much worse health than when I started it, and then my wife pursuing me for more money until I die and then if I die to have insurances so that she continues to be paid.....

Has anyone heard of such agreements? My solicitor says this is an extreme proposal. She is requesting 100% proceeds of the sale of the marital home as well as 42% of my pension.
Re: Spousal Maintenance
December 10, 2020 11:02AM
>>Has anyone heard of such agreements? My solicitor says this is an extreme proposal.

Your solicitor is right. No-one would agree this as it stands and no court would order it. Having said that, what will determine whether spousal maintenance is payable, in what amount and for what length of time is your income or earning capacity and that of your wife as well as other factors such as whether there are any dependent children.
Re: Spousal Maintenance
December 13, 2020 11:52PM
Thanks David

I find it frustrating that her solicitor (which I am paying for) is burning money on sending 'Without Prejudice' negotiations which are just not realistic.

We are replying with a sensible offer of Spousal maintenance £1500/month until our youngest starts secondary, where it drops to £1k/month until the youngest turns 16, where it drops to £500/month until she leaves secondary school.

This will give her time to go more full time with work and not just assume she's going to stay part time and live off me for the rest of her life (with or without the children being around!).

My concern is committing to such an amount is the equivalent of another mortgage. Should I lose my job, or take a less stressful/more local job, I can't sustain these types of payments so there must be a route back to court where I can vary to order accordingly? Equally what if she lands herself a great job (when she stopped working, she was earning £35/£40k), surely she will have less grounds to claim as much money from me?

With the CMS payments I have no issue with as it is a straightforward calulation of my earnings so would vary accordingly. But the the Spousal Maintenance, this must vary also?

Has anyone ever had their Spousal maintenance adjusted and how easy is the court process to get things reassessed successfully or unsuccessfully?
Re: Spousal Maintenance
December 14, 2020 10:39AM
Unfortunately the process to vary spousal maintenance is exactly the same as the process to settle financial issues in the first place - ie, reciprocal disclosure, a first appointment, an FDR and a final hearing. It is bonkers. Also, with the courts these days taking forever to list appointments you would be lucky to get to the end of the process in a year. So, yes, maintenance can be varied if circumstances change by making an application to the court but the cost and time that takes are unbelievable. And, of course, the person receiving the maintenance will never agree to reduce the amount paid until the final hearing. It is wholly unsatisfactory. That is what getting a clean break at the outset is such a prize worth having. Even if that is not possible getting some sort of end date - eg it stops after five years or whatever - is the next best thing. So called 'joint lives' maintenance is potentially a very expensive outcome.
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