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jonsynergy

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Subject: Paying for Life? Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 10:23:55

Hi, I would be grateful for any advice. In 2003 I was divorced and as part of the settlement I had to buy my ex a house mortgage-free, give a lump sum of £48,000 as well as provide ongoing maintenance of £600 per month. I have been paying that since then, but have really struggled to the extent that I have often borrowed to pay for it. The divorce settlement agreed that I would pay money to my ex for the rest of life. The divorce settlement satses \"£600 per month for the joint lives of the parties\". I was at a very low ebb at the time of the divorce and represented myself as I coudn\'t afford a solicitor. In contrast, my ex had a barraster and I had to pay for that to enable her to get a house mortgage free. In contrast I had much less equity and a big mortgage. I had to sell the endowments, so there is nothing to pay off mine. My ex registered disabled these days due to severe back problems, caused by self harm. My daughters are almost 19 and almost 21 and I am told that I have to pay for them until they finish Uni. As part of the divorce settlement in 2003 I had to pay off a debt (£25,000, she burns money) she had built up over the year that I was away (although I paid all of the household bills after I left until the divorce while I was away, by standing order) as well as a £17,000 legal costs. The reason I had to pay the debt and the legal fees was because the judge insisted that she had to have a mortgage-free house as she couldn’t work. At the time of the divorce I could not afford legal advice and I cannot now. At the time I was extremely low and basically fighting my case on my own and I agreed to the settlement. But I can’t go on paying. Is there any possiblity that I could get the order reviewed? Having signed the divorce settlement indicating that I will pay for life, will I have to pay for life? Any comments would be much appreciated. John

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sometimesitdoesn'twork

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 13:03:30

Umm.. it seems that not having a solicitor was a false economy if it meant you ended up paying the other sides costs of £17k. To get a variation to maintenance in front of a judge there needs to have been a substantial change in circumstances. For example, your daughters leaving university or reaching pensionable age could result in a review of all the circumstances and a variation to the amount you pay. It doesn\'t sound as though there is enough capital but one possibility is to end spouse maintenance for life by calculating a lump sum which together with the interest would provide the ex spouse with an income.

sometimesitdoesn'twork

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 13:03:30

Doh - that should be you reaching pensionable age, not your daughters!

jonsynergy

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 10:23:55

Is is possible that I could show that by not having representation, that the outcome was unfair?

Captain Oates

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 10:31:47

If she is so poor, how come she could afford £17000 legal fees in the first place? A rhetorical question to show how f\'d up the system is.

Captain Oates

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 10:31:47

You need to go for a variation or run. But you don\'t give enough info. If you are rich (like the Judges who don\'t have a clue) then you pay and smile.

sometimesitdoesn'twork

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 13:03:30

If the settlement had been imposed and it could have been shown that (a) new, important and relevant evidence had come to light which wasn\'t known of before and which would change the ruling or; (b) the judge has made an error of law or; (c) the judge had exercised his discretion unreasonably or otherwise given a \"perverse\" judgement you would have had a basis for appeal. When a settlement is agreed by consent it\'s more tricky. Strictly speaking there can\'t be an appeal against a consent order as there are no decided issues of fact or law or merits. Therefore it is necessary to attack the basis of the order itself eg non disclosure of material facts, fraud and misrepresentation, supervening events or undue influence. In either case time is the essence and an application would need to have been brought PDQ after the order was made or within a short time of non disclosure, fraud or misrepresentation being discovered.

Captain Oates

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 10:31:47

Like I said, 3 choices, 1. Just go along with it (I would rather eat my own) 2. try and work within the system and apply for a variation to the ancillary relief order (quite possible after children are no longer dependent and everyone has a bad back) 3. Do a runner (metaphorically or litterally speaking) and avoid the law if possible.

jonsynergy

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 10:23:55

Sometimesitdoesn\'twork and Captain Oates, thank you very much indeed.

Stuart

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 10:39:14

Jeez......do you still own a shirt to put on your back?

EnglishRose

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 10:33:37

You can apply to reduce the sum I think if circumstances change for the maintenance for her. Can you get it varied on the grounds your income reduced?
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