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Have you looked at your maintenance order recently?

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About Demelza

By Demelza Patricio

Reigate office of TWM Solicitors

Reigate office of TWM Solicitors

If your divorce was finalised a few years ago, you may well have put to one side the financial order which includes a maintenance payment. Once the divorce is over, many people move on and tend not to look back at the order to see exactly what was agreed with their ex-spouse or imposed by a Judge. However, it is worth taking the order out and having a look at it from time to time. Below are some points to bear in mind:-

  • For the person receiving maintenance:

  1. is the maintenance meant to increase each year in line with inflation? If so, it will probably refer to increasing annually in line with the RPI (Retail Prices Index) or CPI (Consumer Prices Index). Each year, you or your ex-spouse should calculate the increase. See my separate blog explaining how to calculate the increase.

  2. Is your ex-spouse meant to pay for any additional items such as music lessons, extras on a school fees bill or school trips?

  3. Does maintenance end or reduce to a nominal level (5p or £1 per year) if you cohabit with a new partner? It is worth bearing this in mind before deciding whether to cohabit or not.

  4. Have all of the maintenance payments been made? If any payments have been missed, bear in mind that you can only enforce payment of arrears which are less than a year old in most instances.

  • If you are the person paying the maintenance:

  1. Have you increased the maintenance each year in line with the RPI or CPI if that is ordered? If you have not, you might think you have “got away with it” but it actually makes it easier for your ex-spouse to make an application to increase the maintenance on the basis that it has devalued in real terms.

  2. Is the maintenance meant to end if your ex-spouse cohabits with a new partner?

  3. Is your ex-spouse meant to return to work or increase his or her hours after a certain period of time?

  4. Will you receive a percentage of the proceeds of sale of the former family home when certain trigger points have been reached?

Maintenance can always be varied if the circumstances of either you or your ex-spouse change significantly but is also worth bearing in mind the automatic changes which some people overlook and which can have significant financial consequences.


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