Alice Balcombe, Associate, BDB Pitmans, explains your legal position on spousal maintenance.
My income has reduced, do I still have to pay spousal maintenance to my former spouse?
Yes, but you may be able to agree a reduction or suspension of the payments. Maintenance payments can always be varied upwards or downwards if there has been a material change in circumstances.
If your income has significantly reduced due to the current pandemic try and agree, in writing, an interim reduction in maintenance with your former spouse. The payments could be adjusted once you return to your original income level. Unless also agreed, any arrears may remain outstanding and fall due at a later date.
If you cannot reach an agreement you will need to make an application to the Court to vary payments. This will prevent the receiving party from enforcing the payments.
The Court has a wide discretion and will consider a number of factors but the welfare of your minor children is a paramount consideration. The Court will be keen to avoid undue hardship and find a fair result.
If you want to vary payments on the basis that your former spouse is now living with another person, spousal maintenance will not necessarily be reduced or terminated on that basis.
For further advice on any of these issues please contact Alice Balcombe in BDB Pitmans’ specialist family team in Southampton on 034 5222 9222.
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