I need advice
23 October 2019 at 11:49 am #31916
My ex wife (not divorced yet but you know what I mean) and I have been separated for around 18 months. We have 2 children together who we share custody of. The split has been very amicable from the start. My ex wife told me that she did not expect child maintenance from me for our children but instead I would continue to pay off the outstanding bank loan we had taken out together. Dont get me wrong, I pay a lot for my children, not just the monthly cost of a bank loan. New clothes, school fees, childcare costs etc, all the things that you pay as a married couple basically get paid on the whole by me. My ex wife does her bit too tho. Now Im being told constantly that I need to protect myself, especially in the child maintenance and the new property department but from searching online I cant find anything (or the quiet time or place as the kids are always with me if Im not at work). My ex wife always says that she would never demand anything, and I believe her, but then whats to stop her? Is it even a real life option not to pay actual maintenance and to have your own agreement? I cant find these answers or have the head space to process what the websites say in a way I can relate it to my own situation. Can anyone point me in the right direction?23 October 2019 at 8:26 pm #31937
Legally any debts you have remain yours. If joint you both remain liable. So if she didn’t pay her contribution you’d still be liable.
Equally debts are not included in maintenance payment calculations and legally she can still pursue for maintenance at any point she decides to. And if you refused it could be deducted at source.
I’m afraid my advice is to get financial advice if you have significant joint debts. If the debts are in your name only then you could find yourself over a barrel until the capital is divided.23 October 2019 at 10:30 pm #31939
Thanks for the reply. Its not a large debt but it is in both our names. Like I said, its all very amicable, I guess what Im looking for is, is there a way to make our agreement more formal so that if the worst happens and she changes her mind im not left footing a massive maintenance bill?23 October 2019 at 10:33 pm #31940
Please dont take from this that I’m trying to avoid paying for my kids, quite the opposite. I just dont want our agreement to bite me in the ass in the long run26 October 2019 at 10:54 pm #32049
The way it got explained to me was that regardless of your ex partner’s intentions – were something to happen to her, her estate would still have claim until this was resolved, and also while things are amicable it’s all good and fine but people change, situations change and when she meets a new partner (or if you do and she reacts badly to it) then all that can go out of the window very quickly indeed.
The best thing to do is while you are both amicable is to draw up a clean break order. This is a form of consent order which states that once agreement has been made over any transference of money and property between you that no further claims can be made in the future.
So for example if one of you came into a huge amount of money through lottery or inheritance etc the other would be able to make a claim (without a clean break order this is always a risk still even after divorce).
Therefore it is imperative that this is sought as it gives peace of mind to both parties, and if you can do this while things are still amicable it will save you a lot of headache further down the line.26 October 2019 at 11:09 pm #32050
Ok thanks, so I guess I need to speak to a solicitor for that? (Totally clueless)
26 October 2019 at 11:12 pm #32052
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by Chris82.
Also, yes it is an option regarding maintenance.
Unfortunately the way maintenance is laid out it is not means tested in a linear scale. So premiership footballers for example earning millions will have to pay the same amount of maintenance as someone earning a tiny fraction of that amount that happens to be at the higher end of the CMS specified threshold.
In my case for example the amount of maintenance calculated does not equate to the amount necessary to make sufficient contribution to my son, so the amount agreed between myself and his mother was higher to compensate. Every situation will be different, and it may be the case even that upon paying the maintenance that there are other costs relating to your situation that she may need to pay you to offset this amount. Sit down, go through the figures and determine what is fair for you both – if you can’t then get a mediator to help, if this doesn’t’ work then it will be for courts to decide but then a lot of the money you are trying to dispute will be lost in legal fees and increase your debt so it’s in everyone’s interests to avoid the latter as it’s money deducted from that which would go to support your child, and also your own living situation (accommodation/sustenance etc).
Maintenance is a compensatory amount paid to the other parent, not to the child and the amount calculated is not a reflection of how much is needed to support the child so as you said above as long as maintenance is paid and agreed between you then nobody else gets involved. The only time CMS get involved is if there is a dispute by the parent who should be in receipt of payment saying that moneys are not being paid. Ideally this should be sorted between yourselves if you are amicable.
Definitely for your own records cover your back by doing a standing order to her account labeled “maintenance” for example, so that if this is ever disputed in future you have a record of payments you’ve made. But in terms of how much you pay this is something that you should really discuss between yourselves as the amount calculated may not be sufficient or may upon payment (with the minimum required being paid to demonstrate for records sake that you are compliant), this may need to be increased or offset depending on your individual circumstances but keep records of both.
Bottom line. Comply with the amount specified by CMS – and prove that this is being done, but think about what your child needs depending on the individual circumstances.26 October 2019 at 11:17 pm #32054
Hello. I would get an agreement written up. Sometimes as you grow you don’t see eye to eye ☺26 October 2019 at 11:35 pm #32055
You don’t necessarily need to speak to a solicitor for that initially no, but you will do eventualyl. While I would urge anyone to seek legal advice from a solicitor before signing anything or to clarify anything that is understood, I did waste a lot of money in the first stages of my separation seeing advice from solicitors that I could have gotten elsewhere – remember the clock is ticking as soon as you walk through the door and they are ruthless no matter how sympathetic they may first appear when you walk through the door. They are in the business of making money, not necessarily doing things in your best interests. They are legal experts and so the advice you will get from them will be from a legal standpoint, not from a common sense / best interests perspective. The majority of information regarding clean break orders are things you can do yourselves, you just need a solicitor to read things over once you’ve done that to make it legally binding (i.e. taking the plain English you’ve written down and convert it into legal speak so it can be submitted to court).
Get as much of this first part done as you can before you consult a solicitor unless there is any specific element to your separation that is immediately complicated or if your ex has enlisted a solicitor and you need to respond to anything they put. In those situations you do need to get a solicitor straight away but even then make sure it’s you in the driving seat, and see one when you have work for them to do otherwise they will find work for themselves to do, make it last as long as possible and charge you for their time, and you will have spent a lot of money before having accomplished your main objective.
When you go to see a solicitor get it straight beforehand what it is you need and what it is you want them to do, otherwise you are putty in their hands while you are going through an emotional time and it ends up them steering the entire separation and they can turn what was initially an amicable separation into all out war. If you are initially amicable, don’t let this happen. Use them for what you need, and that’s just to get documents put into legal format and sent.
I can’t put any links on here relating to specific services as it would constitute promoting any specific business but if you do a search online for “consent order template” you will find a few, and it will give an indication of what you need to include. A clean break order is an addition to that which states that after you have agreed via a consent order how thing will be divided out, then no further claims can be made, which effectively then makes you done and dusted. This is separate to the divorce, a divorce does not make this automatically happen, but the courts prefer to have these submitted at the time of the divorce.27 October 2019 at 9:21 pm #32096
Thanks welshdad, thats all very helpful, I guess Ive got some work to do27 October 2019 at 9:42 pm #32097