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Family Law

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4 minutes reading time (868 words)

Spousal maintenance

If you are seeking help with a spousal maintenance issue and need expert, friendly and reliable advice from a family law firm in Guildford, then we can help you. With many years of experience in the field of family law we are here to guide you through the process and make it as simple and stress free as possible for you. We can help advise you in all areas of family law, including child law issues, child relocation (leave to remove), divorce or civil partnership law, co-habiting agreements, spousal support, child maintenance and many more.

If you have found yourself furloughed, made redundant or had your hours cut, especially through the current Covid-19 pandemic you may be unable to meet your financial obligations to your ex-partner. You may have had a reduced bonus, or your salary cut whilst your employer suffers a fall in sales through the Coronavirus situation. This could be a temporary situation, i.e. you have a date to return to work, or it could potentially be for a longer period of time whilst you seek new employment. Either way you need to consider your options as soon as possible and be prepared to enter into a conversation with your ex-partner at the earliest opportunity.

It is highly unlikely that you could have foreseen any of the above situations happening, or been able to plan in advance for them. However if you have a court order in place for spousal maintenance it is important that you do not break it, as it it remains in place unless either you or your ex-partner returns to court to amend the details - basically you need to keep paying it or you will be in breach of the agreement!

There are two ways you can tackle this situation. You can start by having a conversation with your ex-partner about how your financial situation is currently looking and see if they are prepared to look at where allowances can be made. Maybe you can agree to pay a lower amount for an agreed period of time, with higher payments once you are back on your feet, or return to employment. You may need to take a break from paying anything at all, obviously subject to your own personal financial situation, so you will need to have thought out a well planned agreement that your ex-partner will agree to. A lot will depend on the current relationship you share with your ex-partner and whether you can arrange things amicably between you, or if you need to progress down the court route. If you are able to come to a temporary, mutually agreeable, arrangement it is best to put in in writing, to avoid complications in the future and so you both know exactly what is expected of you and within what timescale.

If you cannot come to an agreement between you then you will need to apply to the court to have the original agreement amended. As experienced solicitors in all areas of family law Guildford we can help advise you on the best way to proceed and all options open to you. You will need to document your fall in income and why you need to amend the original agreement and also what timescale you perceive this to be for. The court will ultimately decide if and for how long the order may be changed for.

In the current climate, with the pandemic, it is worth looking at some of the financial help available - for instance can you take a mortgage or payment break from your credit cards etc, to enable you to meet any court ordered obligations? If you have been furloughed you may find yourself a little better off with no outlay for travel to and from work, daily coffees, lunch etc, especially if your employer is making up the Goverments contribution of 80% furlough payment to 100% of your wages. Do you have any savings or investments that could be used to help you in the short term. It is worth spending a short while going through your current financial outgoings to see where adjustments can be made before engaging with your ex-partner, or progressing through the court system.

In summary; it is best if you can reach an agreement for a short term arrangement with your ex-partner amicably. Where this is not possible you would need to the court to amend your existing arrangement and they will decide if this is possible and for how long. Time is an important factor here as if you do not pay you would be guilty of being in breach of the existing order.

Whichever route you need to take, as leading solicitors in family law Guildford we are here to help you with expert advice unique to your individual case. We will always be honest with you and help guide you through the process as easily as we can and help to secure you the best possible outcome. You will always find us to be friendly, professional and transparent with all information we share with you.

Call us here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors in Guildford Surrey on 01483 826470 and let us start helping you today.

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