after a couple separate does the husband have to pay his wife maintenance where there are no dependants but she is on a low income and he pays the mortgage still?
System of Law: England-and-Wales
This is a question on behalf of my brother. His ex wife says she was told by Citizens advice he has to pay maintenance and the mortgage. He has so far accepted this as true but finds it difficult to keep up The house is on the market but in spite of having reduced the price several times there has been no sale.
Hi,Thanks for your question. If I have provided you with an answer, kindly click ACCEPT.The short answer is yes, maintenance payments will be payable.Maintenance payments (known as Periodical Payments in legal terms) are regular payments made by the higher earning partner to the lower or non-earning partner. Unlike other financial settlements, maintenance can continue for life (certainly after divorce, and even after the payer’s death!), so it’s a continuous liability. I hope this answers your question. If so, kindly click ACCEPT.Kind regards,
HiActually this is not a yes/no answer as much depends on how long they were married and how much they each earn and how much the house is worth and the mortgage outstanding on itIf you let me have the figures I can give you an informed answerClaire
Claire - My brother now lives in Germany but if it is possible to wait for these details I will try to get them by email. Jill
HiThat will be fine - I will wait to hear from youClaire
Not sure if the details you requested got through. Are you able to confirm please?
HiNo not yet!Claire
Hi Claire - will try againThere is an official separation with signed documents 1 October 2010.Married in 1972 (28 years)Earnings for wife are £960 gross approx, per monthEarnings for husband Euros3100 net per monthThe house is on the market for £142500 The outstanding mortgage is £117000Hope this gets to you this time
HiDoes he pay the mortgage in full and how much is it?Claire
This is the response from my brother. "i currently pay £900 per month as per our separation agreement after the house is sold, £650 per month. The mortgage is approximately £600. The remainder helps towards general outgoings like insurance etc."I hope this helps.
HiWas he legally advised when he signed this agreement?When will the divorce happen?Claire
Hi Claire - sorry for the delay. This is my brother's reply."The advice came from the CAB, a meeting that Sandra had. The agreement was taken from an online DIY separation. In a bid to try and keep costs to a minimum we said we would take the two year period of separation before attempting divorce proceedings. I didn't get a chance to scan the agreement document today but will first theing tomorrow" I was unaware that this was a DIY document and I guess that is not ideal and I think we can assume that my brother did not take his own legal advice but depended on what his wife said. As the document was signed 1 October 2010 I assume divorce proceedings will be some time after that.
HiGiven that there are no children why is the house not being sold?Claire
The house is on the market and has been for some time but there are no buyers. It is a semi detached house in Winsford Cheshire in a cul-de-sac.It is in immaculate condition as I can vouch for as my sister-in-law is a brilliant homemaker and I am at a loss as to why it has not sold. The price started out at about £165K and as mentioned before it has been dropped to £142500.
HiWhat is the eventual settlement that has been agreed - how will the house proceeds be divided between them.Claire
I understand that when the property is finally sold the mortgage will be repaid and the remaining funds divided equally between them. I am trying to confirm this with my brother.
HiYour brother is being considerably more generous than a solicitor would have suggested had he sought advice at the time he agreed to this.Paying the mortgage in full would have been a reasonable compromise.Having said that it could be difficult at this stage to simply stop the payments - and the issue of any ongoing liability for spouse maintenance also needs to be dealt with.The ongoing liability can be dealt with by offering his ex a larger share of the equity in the house - but this is an area on which he should take detailed legal adviceClaire
Hello Claire - I am sorry to have been so long in responding. I have now seen a copy of the agreement that my brother signed and I do feel that he was naive in not having taken his own legal advice. Their individual debts are much higher than I expected to see and the section entitled Equalization Payment I do not fully understand. The previous paragraph relating to the matrimonial home says that after the sale, the discharge of the mortgage and other relative costs the balance shall be divided equally between the parties. It is then that the Equalization payment says that Party 2 (the wife) shall pay Party 1 ( the husband) approximately £175000 being 50% of the total calculated above (This at the time being the value of the house less the current mortgage) in full and final satisfaction to Party 1 entitlement to any and all claims against Party2. Not being familiar with the legal terminology I thought that in the first instance it said monies to be divided equally then in the second part does it say that Party 2 has to pay Party 1 their share of the remaining monies?. I am sorry this is so drawn out Claire but if you are able to clarify some of this in my mind I know what my brother then has to do to be able to finalise the relationship[. Regards Jill
HiFrankly from what you have reported I suspect that this agreement is not likely to be binding since there was no legal advice taken and the wording seems confusing.I think your brother needs to take this to a family law solicitor with a view to renegotiating the whole settlementClaire
25 years experience of all aspects of family law
Claire - Thank you for all your help and advice. I hope that he will now do what he should have done in the first instant. Regards Jill
HiYou are most welcome - if things get really bad he could drop to just paying the mortgage for a bit - not ideal but if need beClaire
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