Spousal support or child maintenance?

My son has 3 kids aged 9,6,4. About to be ex wife works 3 days a week and has a lower hourly income than he does. After agreeing to give her 70% of the equity of the house sale, they are about to discuss ongoing payments. Custody will be 50/50. Originally, he intended to split all child expenses 50/50 too, and give her spousal maintenance instead of child maintenance but I’m not sure this is a good idea. Isn’t Spouse maintenance for life unless she remarries ( which is unlikely) . Wouldn’t child maintenance be better for him financially. I know the law doesn’t take blame into account, but it is not his decision to end the marriage. He has no intention of not providing for his children but he also doesn’t want to be paying her for his or her lifetime for something that he’s not to blame for
:smileyhea A SMILE COSTS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

Comments

  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,021 Forumite
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    If he doesn't formally pay child maintenance, then it's open to her at any time in the future to go to the CMS (or whatever it's called these days) and ask for it. So from that point of view, ensuring that any money going from his bank account to her has a 'child maintenance' label on it could be worthwhile. 

    It's becoming increasingly unusual for courts to order spousal maintenance for life: sometimes for a period of a few years to enable the spouse to retrain, re-enter the work place, increase their earnings. 

    Have their respective pensions been taken into account? Have they been to mediation and thrashed figures out with a third party? 
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  • Katykat
    Katykat Posts: 1,743 Forumite
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    Savvy_Sue said:

    It's becoming increasingly unusual for courts to order spousal maintenance for life: sometimes for a period of a few years to enable the spouse to retrain, re-enter the work place, increase their earnings. 

    Have their respective pensions been taken into account? Have they been to mediation and thrashed figures out with a third party? 
    They’ve agreed to keep their own pensions separate. She has a good company pension, he has a few different pensions from different employments. As far as retraining to increase her earnings, she’s told him she doesn’t want to do that. To be fair, she has a good job, but she doesn’t want to work more than 3 days a week. She has also refused mediation. They have been on good terms and are still living together but they are about to move into their separate houses so he wants the finances sorted. 
    :smileyhea A SMILE COSTS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,021 Forumite
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    Well, I think he should definitely get some professional advice. A 'good' lawyer might want to persuade him to ask for more / give her less, but he really needs to understand the implications of agreeing to pay spousal maintenance but not child maintenance. Because the bottom line is that child maintenance can ALWAYS be claimed, and although custody is currently 50/50 he should understand that if that ever changed - especially as the children grow older what works now may not work then - a claim could be submitted. 
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  • ZaSa1418
    ZaSa1418 Posts: 651 Forumite
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    He needs to ensure he has a clean break order in his divorce, do not agree to spousal maintenance under any circumstances. 
    If they have a 50/50 agreement then he needs to discuss child maintenance with her, they could agree that they will split everything in the middle and no maintenance be payable. 
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  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,203 Forumite
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    Spousal maintenance is unusual nowadays and generally only for a short time, for instance to allow a spouse who has been a stay at home parent to return to paid work, or to give a spouse who was working part time, time to find full time work, or to provide the carer of a very young child some breathing space until the child is in school.

    It's not your son's responsibility to pay for his wife's lifestyle choices. If she only wants to work 3 days a week, that's up to her, but like anyone else who wants to work reduces hours she will need to work out a budget which lets her do that, which might mean she winds up with a smaller property / ;less desirable area / does without holidays or whatever it takes.

    Child support may be payable even though they are splitting care 50/50 depending on their respective incomes - it can sometimes make sense to agree that they will split child benefit, so for instance, they could agree that she claims the child benefit (and any other benefits) for the two older children, and he claims for the youngest, and reflect that in an y CMS applications (e.g. asses on the basis that 2 children live with her and spend 7 nights a fortnight with him, and one lives with him and spends 7 nights a fortnight with her) 

    If there is spousal maintenace, this should be for a fixed, non-extendable period - say 2 years
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • Katykat
    Katykat Posts: 1,743 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    They have come to an agreement. He is going to give child maintenance as per the CMS calculator for 50/50 custody but she will pay all the children’s costs out of that. Obviously he will provide for them whilst they are with him. 
    :smileyhea A SMILE COSTS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
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