01 June 2017
My Maintenance Payments Are Now Unfair – Can I Change Them?
When circumstances change spousal maintenance payments can become dated and even unfair. If payments to or from your ex become unreasonable due to an increase in your former spouse’s income or a drop in your personal income then you should consider applying to vary your maintenance order.
All situations are different, but reasons you might want to vary your maintenance order tend to fall in to one or more of the following categories:
Ex Has New Financial Support
After a divorce or separation it is not uncommon for people to want to move on. Often this will mean starting a new life with a new partner.
If you are paying maintenance to an ex who now lives with a new partner who supports them financially, the payments could be inappropriate and you should apply to vary your maintenance order.
Redundancy or Drop in Income
If your income decreases you could be left struggling to afford to pay spousal maintenance. This could be caused by a number of different situations including: Redundancy or job loss, changes to the value of your business, or an accident or health condition leaving you unable to work
In such instances you can apply to vary your spousal maintenance order.
Moving on from a relationship can be more than just an emotional challenge as for some it will mean living with less financial support than you are used to. Divorce can entail moving out of the family home and perhaps having to find a job and support yourself plus any children you have.
Former Spouse Has Significant Rise in Wealth
If you are receiving maintenance payments and find yourself struggling to make ends meet while your ex is clearly enjoying a lavish lifestyle you should apply to vary your maintenance order. Besides them winning the lottery, their rise in wealth could be due to selling a business or shares at a profit or perhaps down to their property portfolio experiencing increasing in value.
Your ex Lied About Their Wealth
Similarly, if your ex lied or misrepresented their wealth or income during your divorce then you can apply to vary your maintenance order. A failure to provide a ‘full and frank’ disclosure of income and wealth would also leave them open to financial settlement re-examination, if a one-off payment was made upon divorce instead of maintenance payments.
If you’ve been divorced for some time and suddenly discover that your spouse hid substantial assets in your divorce case, depriving you of the settlement or maintenance order you were entitled to, it is possible to apply to the court to have the original decision set aside. You can then seek for the case to be re-opened and reassessed to enable a true and fair settlement for both parties.
If you believe your maintenance order should be varied we may be able to assist. Call the divorce solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers today on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online.
Liz Cowell is a senior family law solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
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