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I have been paying an amount to my ex partner for

Hi I have been paying an...
Hi
I have been paying an amount to my ex partner for maintenance of my son, but have recently lost my job. I am now self employed having started my own company with a view to reducing stress levels. For the time being I can't afford the new amount. I have offered to pay close to half of the old amount, but she has rejected this. Please can you advise of my rights regarding having the amount revised. The amount awarded was sealed My a court order. I have no assets and see my son every other weekend. Thanks in advance.
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Answered in 5 hours by:
11/9/2017
frantzgregory
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 736
Experience: Principal at Gregory & Co Lawyers
Verified

Hello

Only a court can vary an existing court order. However, a court order can be suspended if there was good reason to do so. If your circumstance have now changed since the court order suspending payment or adjusting payment is reasonable however you simply cannot suspend payment without making an application to the court to vary the order. You need the support of a family solicitor to make this change. Given she has refused a reasonable adjustment in light of your change of circumstances, you need to go back to court. If she continues to be unreasonable she will also be at a loss because dragging this to court will also cost her money.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you for your response & advice thus far. In light of my new circumstances I am trying to minimise costs, would you advise to have a solicitor to apply for a variation order, as in would this be more effective in achieving the variation ? Have you any idea of how long this is likely to take?
I am assuming some variation has to be put in place as I currently can't afford the previous amount agreed and am now worried about how I will be able to honour the agreement for the 10 months it has left to run. Am I right in thinking it can be naturally reviewed at 12 months and I can apply to the CSA directly ?
Many thanks

Yes a solicitors involement absolutely. How long will depending on court listings. The order will be reviewed in light of your circumstances.

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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34,872
Experience: 25 years experience of all aspects of family law
Verified

My name is ***** ***** I have been a solicitor for more than 35 years

The above is not entirely correct

For clarity what is your gross income from all sources and how much are you currently paying in maintenance - and when was the Order made?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you Clare, my gross annual was 50,000 I lost my job in September, I don't have significant savings, around 5k, and no asessts. I currently pay £400 per month. My ex partner works full time and lives with her new fiancé in his home- hope this clarifies? The order was agreed in August
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I have also now become self employed,having just started a small business. I am earning around £200 a week

May I ask why you lost your job?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
absense from stress.

May I say I have extensive experience with cases like this particularly from dealing with fathers in situatiins like this. This further interjection is wrong and misleading. The reason for job loss is totally irrelevant.

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The fact remains when a circumstance such as a job loss occurs whether father or mother the court order must be reconsidered particulary where the parties dont agree. It is unlikely that the terms of the order would have been the same had you presented a case of a job loss. Anyone who tells you otherwise has onesided family law bias.

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The fact that the order is less than six months old means that you cannot apply to the CMS for an assessment - which would have been as easy way around the situation.

Instead you need to apply to the court for a downward variation using a Form A available here

https://formfinder.hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/form-a-eng.pdf

The fee is £245.

You will of course have to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting first

You should make it clear to the court that there was no way at the time the order was made that the sudden reduction in your income could have been anticipated

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you both for this information. After the variation is granted do i then have to seek further review from the cms at 12 months ? Do all Financal court orders require annual reviews to account for new circumstances anyway?

NO once the variation is granted then it is only changed if either of you apply for a further variation in the future OR an applictaion is made to the CMS

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you for your help, and in light of my circumstances am I likely to be granted the variation?

Not completely accurate I am afraid.

CM is generally reviewed each year. However, where there is a relevant change of circumstances like the loss of a job, which will affect payments, the Child Maintenance Service must be informed as soon as its known. It is irrelevant whether the order is less than 6 months or not, the loss of a job is such a significant change which cannot simply be ignored. From my experience you are more likely than not of being granted a variation so long as the loss of your job was not planned so as to undermine cm or was not expected and not anticipated. In general CMS agreements are not required to be sealed by a consent order but many solicitors representing the receiving parent advice their clients to get it sealed. Where parties dont agree to vary a consent order, an application to court must be made using form A.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you both very much for your input, you have clarified everything for me very well. Much appreciated.
No worries. Please if you would kindly rate.
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There are two separate systems being confused here

The Court system and the Child Maintenance Service assessment.

For clarity the courts can only deal with Child Maintenance where the parties agree and the order is made by consent - as in your case.

Where parties cannot agree then a CMS assessment has to be applied for.

CMS assessments are NOT sealed by the court - it is an entirely different process which is outside of the court system

In your case there was a consent order sealed by the court which means that the CMS cannot be involved until August 2018.

Because of this you have to apply to the courts for a downward variation (this does NOT have to be agreed - the court has the power to vary an order that has already been made)

So you have to make this application - and yes you do have a good chance of success since you could not have predicted your job loss when the order was made.

Once the variation has been made the new figure stays in place until you or your ex applies for a further variation OR a CMS application is made

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
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Satisfied Customers: 34,872
Experience: 25 years experience of all aspects of family law
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