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Spousal maintanance and retirement (3 Posts)
Started By:
01 March, 2017 06:53AM
Spousal maintanance and retirement
Ginny - 01 March, 2017 06:53AM
My husband is approaching retirement. He has paid maintenance of approx 700 pounds per month for 22 years. He was married for 22 years. At divorce wife got everything house savings car etc. There was no pension division . Husband has been more than generous paying double the amount of maintenance up until her reirement age. Wife initially worked part time but stopped work well before retirement but only earned a minimal amount. He has a joint lives order. As had one child who is now married.
What is the likelihood of success of varying or removing joint lives order on the basis she had enough time to provide for herself from double maintenance payment and could have saved for a pension.
Inaddition she inherited a sum of approximately 100000 form her father a few years ago.
Please note we have amassed considerable savings from our efforts after his divorced.

What is the likelihood her maintenance will increase however no mention in settlement of RPI.

What is likelihood that joint Maintenence order could be varied downward or Removed.

Would we have to pay lump sum she is approximately 65 receiving full state pension form 60.

What is likelihood of success if we try to vary spousal maintenance.

All I read is maintenance can go up or down.

many thanks
Re: Spousal maintanance and retirement
davidterry - 03 March, 2017 10:05AM
>>Please note we have amassed considerable savings from our efforts after his divorced.

You may be about to discover just how unfair divorce law in England can be. If your husband's income drops upon retirement so that he can no longer afford to pay the existing level of spousal maintenance (which has already lasted as long as the marriage) then his ex wife is entitled to say that she wants a clean break in return for a (further) lump sum. And the chances are that a court will give it to her if it thinks your husband can afford to pay. This means that his ex wife could get a further lump sum from him paid for from the savings he has accumulated since they were divorced 22 years ago.

I don't think this is remotely fair (any more than I think spousal maintenance which lasts for 22 years is fair) but the divorce courts will not hesitate to do this because they have the power to do it. This is the great danger of so called 'joint lives' maintenance. You would think that if a the income of the person paying falls through no fault of his own then the maintenance should fall too (just as child maintenance does). But, no, in such circumstances the person in receipt of the maintenance has the right to ask for a clean break in return for a lump sum. And if there is such a lump sum available it will be at risk.

I don't think this is remotely defensible as a policy but until the law is changed by Parliament this is what the law is. Joint lives maintenance is bad enough but when it is combined with this power to award a lump sum perhaps many years later in return for a clean break it makes it clear why so called joint lives maintenance can ultimately turn out to be very expensive indeed.
Re: Spousal maintanance and retirement
davidterry - 03 March, 2017 03:34PM
>>Husband has been more than generous paying double the amount of maintenance up until her retirement age

By the way, paying more than he was ordered by the court was a terrible mistake. This is obviously no consolation to him now and I am sure it was done for the best of motives. All the same, it was a terrible mistake and explaining why may at least help prevent sother people making the same mistake.

There are all sorts of reasons why this was a mistake. First, it greatly increased the dependency of his ex wife who had that much less incentive to stand on her own two feet, if he had paid this sum for, say, three years and then had reduced it to the amount which the court had ordered in the first place there is every prospect that if his ex wife had then applied to the court for an upwards variation to the amount he was actually paying the court would probably have ordered it. That is because he would have shown that he could afford it and, no doubt, his ex wife would have increased her expenditure (acquired a horse, six cats or whatever) so as to make herself dependent on this money.

Then you have the ghastly situation which arises when she finally says she wants a further lump sum in return for a clean break. She will inevitably base her calculation for that lump sum upon the amounts that he was actually paying rather than the amount that was ordered to be paid by the court. She may or may not succeed on that point but it is inevitable she will make it. if she does and the court agrees with her then the lump sum your husband might be required to pay will be much higher than it might otherwise have been.
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