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TOPIC: child/spousal maintenance

child/spousal maintenance 10 years 2 months ago #4601

Hi all. Sorry to begin posting on here with a question - but I bet someone knows the answer.
I had a court order, outlining my payments 'for the benefit of wife and children' - nothing about 'spousal' or 'child' maintenance specifically. A year later, I applied to the CSA who promptly halved what I was paying - which I believe they have the power to do. I am now threatened with court action because, ex's solicitor claims that my payments through the CSA (who looked at that court order to make their decision) only cover the child maintenance. I should still pay the full amount ordered by the court because the difference is 'spousal' maintenance.
That same court order dropped my payments by £100 the moment my youngest one started school, thus leaving my ex free to work. (Which she has never done) I assumed that this would cover the spousal element of the maintenance. But there is no mention anywhere in the court order of what proportion of my maintenance is spousal.
I have offered to go to mediation to sort this out, but it has been rejected on the basis that I have broken the court order, meaning there is nothing to mediate.
This is the simple version - and it already sounds complicated when I re read it! Does it make sense? Does anyone have an answer?

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Re: child/spousal maintenance 10 years 2 months ago #4610

Hi mate,

Our Legal Partners, The Childrens Legal Centre are Child law experts not divorce experts so they won't be able to offer advice on this situation. Though I'm sure some other DadTalkers may have gone through this and will be able to offer some advice.

Failing that you could always try Community Legal Advice - Their website offers free, confidential and independent legal advice for residents of England and Wales.You can get to them [url=http://www.communitylegaladvice.org.uk:3ocrsmzf]here[/url] or you could call the helpline number 0845 345 4 345.

I hope this is of some help mate.

Gooner

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Re: child/spousal maintenance 10 years 2 months ago #4620

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I'm not an expert by any means, so you'll need to get legal advice, but.....

... CSA are only concerned with child maintenance so it would be reasonable for your ex to argue that the difference is spousal maintenance, and since she has never worked, the courts won't necessarily expect her to suddenly go out and get a high powered job and allow you to stop paying her maintenance. They will, however, expect that she does look for a job once she is able to do so, and presumably this is why they wrote in the £100 reduction, but they will expect you to possibly support her for a time - there will be recognition that she is limited to some extent by school hours.

My advice would be to comply with the court order fully (otherwise you are in contempt) but immediately go for mediation - but in any event, get legal advice. Bear in mind how much legal costs you will incur against what you might save in maintenance.

You mentioned that you have your children part of the time - do the CSA know this? - if you have them (overnight stays) for more than 52 days per year, then your payments are reduced pro-rata I believe. Did the original court order take into account how much you would have the children?

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Re: child/spousal maintenance 10 years 2 months ago #4623

That's brilliant, thanks guys.

I'll try the help line thing. I've run out of means to pay any lawyers now though.

I have the children 3.5 nights per week (in accordance with a subsequent court order) which the CSA know about. My ex wife has been offered work and turned it down. She does voluntary work. It's almost a year since our youngest started school, so for that time she's had plenty of opportunity to seek work.

Yes, this is since the court made its order. Plus, she lost her driving license, leaving me with all her transport costs. Plus interest rate cuts means she pays £50 per month for our house, while I'm forking out 20 times that.

I'm just disappointed the CSA told me not to worry about it any more...

Oh well. Thanks for you help with this.

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Re: child/spousal maintenance 10 years 2 months ago #4624

good luck with that.

Could you let me know if the helpline is of any use and if you get some advice pop back and share it here.

Thanks

Gooner

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Re: child/spousal maintenance 10 years 2 months ago #4719

Thanks again - my gross income means I'm not eligible for the help line.
Still - having been sunk into debt by legal fees from defending myself against a futile (but publicly funded) I continue to represent myself. I managed to get ex's solicitor to say, in writing, that the problem was with the 'interpretation' of the court order - which was very unspecific. My response is to say that I have not, therefore, breached the order. Simply interpreted it differently. Anyway - the CSA insist the entire court order has been super-ceded. Plus, I have just discovered the ex's solicitor is lying to me... but I'll write another post about that.

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