As the cost of living continues to have an impact on families’ finances, people who are required, as part of their divorce settlement, to pay maintenance may be struggling to meet those obligations on top of rising bills and mortgage payments. The maintenance may be index linked which means that the maintenance will rise in line with inflation.
If you find yourself in this situation what can you do?
First, try to see if you can agree a reduction. You will need to give your income and expenditure to show that the currents payments are unaffordable. It is important that you do not stop the payments otherwise you will be in breach of the court order and steps may be taken to enforce the order. This could mean that you are ordered to pay costs and the arrears. If you are able to reach agreement, it should be recorded in an order and sent to the court to be approved and a solicitor can help you with this.
Second, if the thought of direct conversations seems impossible, then look at other ways such as using the mediation process. This is a voluntary process where you will be assisted by an impartial mediator who will try to promote dialogue and help you reach agreement. Alternatively, some family lawyers are able to offer a collaborative process. This is where you and your former spouse, together with your respective solicitors, will meet and discuss matters, round the table, exploring solutions.
Thirdly, if this is unsuccessful, the next step to consider is making an application to the court to vary the payments downwards. An order can be varied if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the making of the original order. The outcome of these applications can be uncertain and so it is important to take legal advice so you know what information you need to present and how such applications are dealt with.
To discuss this, or any other related matter with our experienced Family team, please call us, start a live chat or email us at email@example.com.
*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.