Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

should husband's partner's income be taken into account for maintenance calculations?

(71 Posts)
ginger57 Mon 08-Jul-13 11:59:11

Hi, my first post, hoping someone might have some useful tips/info. Sorry if this gets a bit long and convoluted!

H and I separated some time ago but had to go on sharing house and bed platonically for a few years due to financial situation. Things were difficult but as amicable as possible under the circs. About 3 and a half years ago he started an affair with someone a lot younger (we're both 55, she's 40ish). 2 years ago we finally managed to sort out actual physical separation, he rented a flat and went on seeing her, I stayed in the house until we agreed to sell last year. They have now moved into rented accommodation and I have bought a 70% share of a housing association flat with my half of the house sale.

I have been out of work for 2 years now and am on JSA (I went back to uni to improve my work prospects and haven't worked since) and I'm getting less confident of finding work by the day. This means that much as I would love to be completely independent of him he will have to go on paying me maintenance. He does pay me what he can at the moment but it isn't enough - I live very simply but I have to rely on overdraft and credit card (with low limit) to get by.

He runs his own very niche small business which doesn't make him much money - the profits go back into the business - so I know he probably can't afford to give me much more. The 2 year separation is up at the end of July and I want to get on with the divorce asap, so I've sent him a breakdown of my finances and asked him to do the same so that we can present something we've agreed on.

So my question (finally!) is does he have to include his girlfriend's income as well? Will the court take that into account when deciding if our calculations are fair?

I don't know if its relevant but we have two grown up children, DD lives with me as she has AS and dyspraxia, DS is working and house-sharing with friends. DD has just lost a second job because of dyspraxia, she is trying to build up a career as a TEFL teacher but she is also on a low income. H had a baby last year with girlfriend, possible the stupidest thing he's ever done but that's a whole other story, however I am aware that it will probably complicate everything. GF has a son of 20ish at uni.

Pause for breath. Any thoughts? Many thanks in advance.

mumblechum1 Mon 08-Jul-13 23:27:37

There is no consent order, I don't think they[ve even filed the petn yet.

LittleFrieda Mon 08-Jul-13 23:15:09

Does the consent order state a sum of spousal maintenance, or a percentage? And is it in a series of lump sums or periodical?

blackbirdatglanmore Mon 08-Jul-13 22:22:21

The problem is, as far as my reading of the OP is concerned, the husband did not walk out and leave a shocked, vulnerable woman behind: it was a mutual decision and she appears to have been treated fairly, has benefited from the house sale which was split in half and has had spousal maintenance.

It's all very well talking about the issues of being a SAHM but to be honest in most cases I know where the woman works part time or not at all it hasn't been thrust on her by a domineering husband, it's been a decision the woman made and the husband went along with (not suggesting that the woman is some sort of bully, just that in my experience a lot of men leave things like childcare and organisation of the home to their wives.) Certainly, the OP has had opportunities through further study to try and start some sort of paid work, and does not have dependent children - the daughter's dyspraxia is difficult but not unmanageable given she has been able to work.

I just don't think what this lady wants is reasonable - sorry, but I don't.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 08-Jul-13 22:04:06

itwillgetbettersoon How would you like to see the law changed? How long would you like to see the law enforcing men such as the OP's stbxh supporting a woman in the OP's position?

itwillgetbettersoon Mon 08-Jul-13 20:45:17

I think any woman who gives up a career to look after children needs to understand that financially they are incredibly vulnerable. Often the decision to stay at home is a joint one and often enables the working partner to put 100% into their career and move up the ladder.

To say that a woman in her 50s who gave up her career years ago can just go out and get a job that pays enough to live is unrealistic .

Personally I think the law should be changed to respect woman who do stay at home to look after the couples kids. I know this impacts on 'second families' . The decision to stay at home was a joint one at the time. I would suggest to young girls that they don't give up their careers to have children otherwise you could end up in poverty later in life.

Glad to see woman supporting other woman on this thread!

NameThatTuna Mon 08-Jul-13 19:19:18

I hate this assumption that every woman is forced to give up work when they have children. In some cases yes, but there is no evidence in the OP that she was forced to sacrifice her career/job.

The same could be said for a man. He may be forced to work all hours he can get, missing out on his kids growing up because it is a 'man's role'. Not all men prefer to work while the woman stays at home but they don't have a choice.

As for compensating the OP for loss of future job prospects/earning potential, no one knows she has sacrificed anything as she hasn't been back to answer that question.

Even still, he has already supported her for the last 4 year's at least, through uni too. He has already helped financially to increase her job prospects.

It is now down to the OP to support herself. Mid fifties or not. She still has another 13 years to retirement age (not everyone retires when the time comes). Surely no one expects him to support her forever.

As for not expecting the marriage to end, well of course no one expects that. But nowhere in the OP does it suggest he was the reason the marriage ended. Could have been the OP who wanted it to end because she no longer loved him.

Whatever the reason, he shouldnt be supporting her financially for the rest of her life.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 08-Jul-13 18:54:18

OP, the answer to your question, as many others have said is no, your stbxh's partners income will not be taken into account.
Is she financially comfortable and this is why you ask?

I can see the predicament you are in. Your standard of living appears to have dropped substantially by your stbxh moving out. Please correct me if that assumption is wrong btw.)

Tbh, from my perspective, the stbxh's partner is indirectly supporting you atm, because you have had a settlement, yet your stbxh still financially supports you, and on the information you have given, he probably has no legal obligation to do so, so that money is being taken from his 'family pot' which means his girlfriend and their DC.

You appear to have very little belief that you will find work soon, if ever. How long do you think your stbxh should support you financially?
You are 55 now. From your OP, you don't seem at all confident that you will find work anytime soon. Do you think your stbxh should continue to financially support you for possibly the next 13 years until you retire?

What about the impact that will have on his new family and their finances?

I think he has been kind to support you since he moved out 2 years ago, but how long do you expect this to continue?

And how do you manage to claim JSA and receive an income from your stbxh at the same time? confused

VodkaJelly Mon 08-Jul-13 18:29:25

"And a general note: on what planet is it a good thing for any person to start a second family when they can't support their first family adequately?"

What planet are you on? DP was 18 when his eldest was born, he bought a house and worked hard to support his partner and the child. Partner then cheated on him and threw him out of the house. So DP should have lived the rest of his life without having more children incase his maintance dropped due to having another child? Wow.

But I was ok to carry on having more children when i divorced my ex? Even though my disposable income dropped with every new child born?

Words really do fail me. My ex went on to have more children after we divorced and my money from him dropped, but I didnt care as he had found happiness and had more kids.

UptheChimney Mon 08-Jul-13 18:27:13

There are a few questions the OP needs to answer before anyone can get a true picture of what she is/could be entitled to

I agree, but unlike this:

At the moment, it is reading like she is trying to live off her ex as her job & financial situation is shit
I prefer to give a woman in her mid-fifties, who's raised a family, the benefit of the doubt.

Not that her exH's new partner should be expected to contribute to the OP's income, but that her situation is an example of the way that women -- particularly in late middle age -- are often very very disadvantaged financially by making sacrifices of their careers and incomes in a marriage.

It's fine if you know that you will be together literally till "death do us part." But who can ever be 100% sure of that? So when a woman makes a decision for the good of the family to curtail her ability to earn an equal income to either that of her husband or of someone similarly qualified to her, I think that needs to be acknowledged and compensated for.

LookingForwardToMarch Mon 08-Jul-13 18:09:52

Oh it only counts if the children are with a new woman Allnew!

Didn't you know, the pwc can have children when they feel like it, they don't have to keep earning more and more money with each subsequent child to make sure that ALL their children never ever have a penny less than the first wink

It's just the nrps job to do that.

Some bitter exs on here methinks

NameThatTuna Mon 08-Jul-13 18:07:28

There are a few questions the OP needs to answer before anyone can get a true picture of what she is/could be entitled to.

At the moment, it is reading like she is trying to live off her ex as her job & financial situation is shit.

She is asking about money for her, not their DD. As her DD is an adult and will be entitled to her own money.

As for OP, she needs to clarify if she was a SAHM while the children were little and if it affected her future job prospects before anyone can say she should be entitled to his income.

OP has said they have been separated for years but continued to live together. Who paid the bills/mortgage during that time?

OP went back to uni to improve her job prospects 2 years ago, who supported you financially then? Was it your EXDH even when you were no longer a couple?

He began a relationship with his now GF, when he was separated. Not cheating, even though they were still legally married. Would OP feel she was having an affair if it was the other way round?

From what I've read of the OP's post, the impression i'm getting is that of sour grapes.

He's moved on, she hasn't. The lack of job is not his or his GF's problem, it is to do with the current climate or the OP's unwillingness to take any job she can get.

They separated years ago, how many more years should he financially support her.

Looks like OP won't be back to answer the questions though......

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Jul-13 18:01:59

"And a general note: on what planet is it a good thing for any person to start a second family when they can't support their first family adequately?"

So on this basis a Pwc should never have more children if this means her existing children getting less. Or indeed any couple having more than 1 child, as, unless they're loaded, each additional child means less money for the first

TeamSouthfields Mon 08-Jul-13 17:58:27

Why should he support u?

What the hell has the gf 's wages got to do with u?

They have s young baby together, u have adult children......

Are u being for real?

Get a job!!!!

UptheChimney Mon 08-Jul-13 17:48:05

I just don't get why this OP has received such aggressive responses?

And a general note: on what planet is it a good thing for any person to start a second family when they can't support their first family adequately?

Do none of you read the information about the general levels of poverty many women with main residence/care of children are left in after divorce? Particularly if they were SAHM or took a career break to do the domestic work/child care for the family?

I just find the tone of many of the answers on this tread to be almost gloating and certainly most unsympathetic.

LookingForwardToMarch Mon 08-Jul-13 17:42:37

Wait if you were seperated and just living together then how was it cheating/ an affair?

And HAHAHA no the gf money does not come into it at all, she didn't make the children, she doesn't have to pay for them.

Um and this isn't to you op but the idea that maintenance shouldn't go down if the husband goes on to have more kids?!

Ridiculous. So your saying that the new children should live in poverty while the first kids get the same amount as before?

What planer are you on. Luckily the system doesn't work like that for a reason!

burntpaper Mon 08-Jul-13 17:29:55

I was awarded spousal maintenance in divorce, which I agree is unusual, but I also have an adult DS on the autism spectrum and this was taken into account in my reduced earning capacity. I was claiming Carers Allowance for DS and it was argued in my case that, although getting CA meant that I'd be eligible for income support, it wasn't appropriate for me to be depending on income-related benefits when Ex-H had a duty to support me.

I believe that his subsequent partner's income was taken into account to some extent, as it meant that he didn't need to contribute the full amount to their household bills etc, so had more disposable income to pay out in spousal maintenance. If he'd been living on his own and having to run the whole household by himself - well, he would still have been able to afford to pay out maintenance as he has a high income, but probably not quite as much. I think it's quite complicated to deal with self-employed exes when it comes to divorce finances though - as someone else mentioned, it's easy enough to hide income that way. I'd get advice from the legal bit of the forum or another one such as Wikivorce, you'll also find posters there tend to be a bit more understanding!

Incidentally, many posters are getting confused with DLA and JSA and this shows that they're unlike to have much of an idea about the impact of disabilities like ASD, or the disability welfare system. DLA/PIP isn't an out of work benefit, it can be claimed by disabled people who work, but is meant to pay for their additional care/mobility needs, not general living expenses. If the OP's DD's dyspraxia is severe enough to affect her employment, I'd say she should be getting it, if she isn't already. DS is high functioning and has a degree but he still gets it. Have you sought help from the NAS about benefits for your DD? They can also offer support with helping young adults on the spectrum into employment or HE.

UptheChimney Mon 08-Jul-13 16:46:44

I doubt the OP will be back: it was her 1st post and she got quite an uncompassionate response.

I don't disagree with a lot of the factual advice: the OP should be getting financial & legal advice, and moving towards a clean break, and her daughter with disabilities should be looking at JSA and DLA, but, but but

Don't other posters know how difficult jobs are to find at the moment? Doubly so for someone on the ASD spectrum and with physical disabilities? And also difficult for a woman of 57 (if that's how I read her screen name?) to find a job, particularly of she's been a SAHM for most of her marriage. My advice to younger women is "Never give up your job" -- because look at what can happen. If a long-lasting "traditional" (man breadwinner; woman SAHM) marriage breaks up, things are so badly stacked against the woman, it's a disgrace.

Spousal maintenance is unusual, and the very fact that the OP received it suggested to me that it was recognition that she had sacrificed her earning capacity to look after the family.

OP I hope you find something of use to you in this thread, even if it's feels like an uncaring thread. (Is this what people mean by the 'nest of vipers'? I'm quite new to MN)

I totally agree with upthechimney and am shocked at the vehemence and lack of compassion being shown.

I totally reiterate all that upthechimney said and wish to add that unless you have brought up a special needs child, you really have no clue how difficult it is, or how much it might impede on your freedom to get a job and if you gave up a career to stay home and look after children, that both you and DH wanted, then spousal maintenance is often paid.

She says he is on low income becasue he is putting much of it back into his business but if this is building up a successful or high value business rather than support his first family, then again there may be an opportunity for her to have a claim against the business, particularly if she contributed to the business.

The law still does take into account his whole household income (i.e. his gf's as well if they live together) but they will also take into account the fact they have a child.

my ex who had been living with his gf for a year rented a room somewhere else while we were divorcing in order to avoid having her high income taken into account when our divorce went through. I didn't want her money, but i wanted the inequality of our situations to be taken into account. He managed to avoid that.

my advice is get some legal advice, about what you could expect and then negotiate with your ex, who sounds fairly reasonable and come up with a plan that works for you all.

i wish you all the best, pm me if you need a sounding board.

YellowTulips Mon 08-Jul-13 15:37:27

Nope - her income won't be taken into account.

I think you need legal advice.

Given he runs his own business his financial affairs will be more complex.

You say he needs to plough all the profit back into the company - is that really true. I know people who have done this as a way of "hiding" income and reducing support payments whilst getting the benefit of a growing business. Just how much is he claiming on business expenses for example? Put enough through the business and you don't need a large income.

How well do you get on with him? Are you in a position to have an honest conversation about your finances?

toosoppyforwords Mon 08-Jul-13 14:52:29

The answer to your OP i believe is no, GF earnings wont be taken into consideration.

With regard to yours and STBXH finances, was legal advice sought when splitting the assets of the house and deciding what share each got? Generally speaking (and there are lots of variables here!) if you had not worked the length of your marriage due to raising a family it is likely you would get a larger share of the assets to compensate for that or in order to achieve a clean break settlement. it is likely he would have to pay interim spousal maintenance at least, and possibly longer term depending on the assets and income available - none of which we know here. Are there any pensions involved for consideration as well?

Seek legal advice with regard to the divorce finances.

Whether he morally should have to pay spousal maintence (possibly not) and whether legally he will have to (maybe?) are 2 separate issues.

I also agree with others that it wasn't really an affair and it seems odd you refer to it as such - unless we are misinterpretating your OP.

With regard to job hunting there are many many women in the workplace who have returned at 45, 55, 60 etc after children are grown up. Maybe the jobs might not be exactly what you want and or are trained for but it is far easier to get a job when you already have one. Good luck in your search

Vivacia Mon 08-Jul-13 14:50:40

The husband didn't cheat on the OP. They were separated before his relationship began. I also disagree that parents have a moral obligation to financially support their adult children. Regardless of this, the OP is asking about money for herself, not the (adult) children. As it is, I think his new baby and even partner have more right to his money than his ex or adult children.

VodkaJelly Mon 08-Jul-13 14:37:31

morethanpotatoprints what are you on about? The DD is an adult and has lost 2 jobs already. She should be either claiming DLA or JSA. Even if the exh still lived with the OP the DD could still claim DLA or JSA. The state would be providing for her regardless of the divorce of the parents.

The OP wont be claiming tax credits because the DD IS AN ADULT.

The maintenance the OP is getting is SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE AND NOT CHILD MAINTENANCE.

UptheChimney Mon 08-Jul-13 14:34:24

If OP took a career break to bring up children then her earning potential could now be lower than if she had continued working full time. Therefore it seems reasonable that stbexh should contribute some maintenence for OP as she would have reduced income due to caring for their DCs

This.

I can't believe how harsh the responses are here to a woman whose exH cheated on her, and has been left to support a DD with AS and dyspraxia at an age when we all know how difficult it is to get a job.

I agree that the exH's GF's income is nothing to do with the OP, except that it means that her exH probably has very low living expenses. Whereas she (OP) has been left supporting a daughter with disabilities which are likely making it difficult to find reasonable employment in the current climate.

But still, I think a bit of compassion wouldn't go amiss here. Maybe those of you responding so harshly are much younger? I hope none of you is left by your DH when you've spent most of your adult life raising your children, and have lost out financially & career wise. It's a pretty shit position for women, despite some attempts at evening up the imbalances, and I'm just really surprised at the lack of "sisterhood" feeling.

lulubear1 Mon 08-Jul-13 14:05:21

I agree with most of the posts. Her income doesn't come into it andwhy should he have to pay for you? You already stated he is on a low income and has a baby, why would you add to the pressure by demanding maintenance off him which is totally undeserved.

I also agree with airofhope he did not have an affair, you stated you had seperated and the only reason in the same house was due to finances. So he as a single man started a relationship, no wrong doing on his part.

Time to stand on your own.

fabulousfoxgloves Mon 08-Jul-13 13:50:21

>If OP took a career break to bring up children then her earning potential could now be lower than if she had continued working full time. Therefore it seems reasonable that stbexh should contribute some maintenence for OP as she would have reduced income due to caring for their DCs.<

This would have to be argued out in a divorce court, though, and would probably cost more than OP is likely to gain, if STBXH is not wealthy. I am not sure that legally he is required to pay anything in terms of spousal support, though that may depend where you are in Britain. And surely this should all have been agreed before the property was sold. Has anyone actually taken legal advice here?

I wonder if OP really accepted that the separation meant that the marriage was over (if they were still sharing a house and bed for several years, that is not separated, really, what about the sofa?), and still this went on for 18 months after he met someone else (which she terms an affair). That doesn't sound very separated in my book.

I do think there is a point here that the OP really has to accept that the marriage ended, she has got half the proceeds of the house, he has been supporting her beyond what was necessary, and the new GF's money is the new GF's money. The situation sucks because she is unemployed and looking after the adult daughter, whilst he is playing happy families with the new baby, but unfortunately that is life. I would let ex-hubby get on with it, and focus on your own life, simple as it may be.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now