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Do I Have to Pay My Wife a Certain Amount?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 7 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Maintenance Separation Divorce Lawyer

Q.

My wife and I have been separated for approximately 1 year. She and our 5-year-old daughter have been living in our house and I have been renting a flat. I have been paying around 50% of my net salary to my wife and am finding it increasingly difficult to keep my overdraft under control.

Due to the rising cost of living, my wife has asked me if I can contribute more money and I cannot. My wife is unable to work due to incapacity/disability and I would be obliged if you could advise me on what legal obligations I have.

(J.M, 26 November 2008)

A.

It sounds as, if part, you’ve become a victim of the credit crunch. You’ve tried to be very fair to your wife and daughter, but maybe the time has come to hammer out a proper separation agreement and a divorce.

You don’t mention any formal separation agreement, so it may well have been done informally. Even in this instance, you should have informed the benefits office, if you or your wife were receiving benefits, as well as HMRC (applicable only if there are tax credits involved), and the local council (for council tax purposes, council tax benefit or housing benefit).

At this point, a formal separation agreement would be useful for you. It lays out what your financial obligations are in terms of child support for your daughter and maintenance for your wife. You’ve been very generous, but obviously you can’t sustain that. If you can work out the details between you beforehand, then it will reduce your solicitor costs when you have it all set out legally.

However, the two of you might also consider going directly for a divorce if there’s no chance of reconciliation. The more you can agree between you in advance, the smoother the process and the lower the cost of the lawyers (see our article Divorce: Your Action Plan for more information). You will obviously need to provide Child Support Payments, but this will be far less than you’re paying out now.

Will you have to pay maintenance to your wife? There’s a very good chance that you will, but with good negotiation it should be that you’ll end up paying out quite a bit less than the current 50% of your net salary. Your wife is obviously eligible for a disability allowance, and after divorce might well qualify for housing benefit.

The amounts, though, are something yet to be worked out, preferably amicably between the two of you, or possibly between the lawyers or mandated by the court at the time of divorce. How long you might have to pay maintenance depends on the circumstances, although if your wife re-married it would definitely end. There’s also the possibility of negotiation that gives your wife a greater share in your house in return for lower maintenance payments.

If you have a pension through work, you also need to be aware of pension sharing, which will be affected by all this.

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Hello My wife and I have been separated for over a year but living under same roof. She has taken my daughter (7yrs old) away, she now lives at her grandparent's place, I have very little contact - once in 4-6 weeks. I give her 10% of my income as I have huge debt from a collapsed business. I am paying all the debts. She is not paying her half share of the bills and at time her 50% share of the mortgage. She earns more money than me but everytime she says she has spend extra on my daughter and I have not contributed therefore she is cutting her bills/mortgage contributions. She is also refusing to pay an her half of an unsecured loan (under my name) which we took out to buy the share property together. Money paid towards deposit. What can I do to make her pay her half?
Becane16 - 7-Jan-17 @ 5:24 PM
DT - Your Question:
My wife and I have separated after 9 years of marriage, I'm still paying the mortgage 10 months on, I also moved out 10 months ago. Will this factor into the settlement should it go to court? Thanks

Our Response:
You may wish to seek legal advice, as dependent upon your circumstances and whether you have children, it may not figure in the settlement.
SeparatedDads - 11-Nov-16 @ 12:13 PM
My wife and I have separated after 9 years of marriage, I'm still paying the mortgage 10 months on, I also moved out 10 months ago. Will this factor into the settlement should it go to court? Thanks
DT - 10-Nov-16 @ 3:07 PM
NW - Your Question:
My wife and I look set to separate as we are not getting on, we have 2 children (ages 5 and 7), she doesn't work but said she will look for a part time workShe is in contact with the local council to see if they will help with the rent we currently pay, she keeps saying that is my responsibility to pay the rent and provide a roof over thire heads (of course would not want to see them homeless) os the correct?

Our Response:
You will be required to pay child maintenance to your children by law, if you are earning which means you are under an obligation to continue to support your children until they leave full-time education. You have no obligations to financially support your wife once you separate. Whatever you pay above and beyond child maintenance will be discretionary, meaning if your wish to continue to support your wife with rent and bills etc, it is up to you. Please see CMS Options calculator to see how much you will be required to pay, if your ex makes a claim here. Once you and your wife separate, you can either come to a family-based child maintenance arrangement based upon what you both agree you should pay. Alternatively, your wife can approach the CMS. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 10-Nov-16 @ 11:07 AM
My wife and I look set to separate as we are not getting on, we have 2 children (ages 5 and 7), she doesn't work but said she will look for a part time work She is in contact with the local council to see if they will help with the rent we currently pay, she keeps saying that is my responsibility to pay the rent and provide a roof over thire heads (of course would not want to see them homeless) os the correct?
NW - 9-Nov-16 @ 2:52 PM
My wife and I are freshly divorced, no solicitor was involved, now I recently cashed in an insurance, & my ex wife got half in a cheque, I needed her to sign a form. Am I entitled to have it back?
Bill. - 3-Nov-16 @ 1:34 PM
I am leaving my wife and 9 year old son, House is on both name. I am planning to get saperated after 11 years of bullying relationship. There is still £34,000 left on morgage. I am 45 years old while my wife is 47 years old Wife parents paid around £20,000 as deposit for the house and wife paid around 1 year mortgage installments befire we got married. I am paying all bills, Council tax and morgage for last 11 years. I earn £47.000pa and also pay around £6,000 as travel cost to london where l work My wife left her part time job and doesn't want to work anymore All bills and council rax on joint names My questions are 1. Do l still have to pay council tax as l will not be leaving in the house but house is still on my name 2. Do l have to pay all other bills, electric, gas, water, internet etc 3. How much money l have to pay for my son per month 4. How much l have to pay to my wife per month. 5. Can govt force my wife to work as she just doesn't want to work and also not have enough pension years contribution 6. Will my travel cost to work be considered when deciding child or spouse maintaince pay out. Many Thanks Regards Paul
Paul - 20-Aug-16 @ 7:50 AM
After finding out that my wife was having an affair, I have recently agreed to a divorce.We have two children.I make $3550 (after tax) a month.My wife makes about an average of $500 per week, but she is a server at a restaurant and only claims bare minimum of her cash tips. Will this hurt me in the long run? We have agreed to both have 50/50 custody of the children with me moving out.If I sign a lease at another home, will that cost be taken into consideration if she takes me to court for more money in the future?
John - 5-Aug-16 @ 11:41 PM
I have been separated from my wife for almost 2 yrs I pay her to make up her rent and pay her gas and electricity I've given her additional money over this period but I am struggling myself I can't afford to divorce her do I have to give her money and if so why I've supported her for almost ,30yrs why should I still have to give her money . Does a divorce come into effect softer 5yrs and she will get half my pension that I've worked and paied into not her getting annoyed about shuck have to give her my money I give it her for 30yrs so why still have to give it to her ??
dee - 11-Jun-16 @ 11:22 PM
Recently divorced. Have 2 children with ex wife. 9 year old daughter lives with mom and 16 year old daughter lives with me. Ex wife doesn't work, claims benefits, I work full time. I applied for tax credits but not received any yet. I have 9 year old 2 sleeps a week and more in holidays. I am giving ex wife £100 p/m for 9 year old. Dont receive anything for 16 year old off her. Should I be giving her money still?
Rich - 28-Mar-16 @ 1:34 PM
jd220215 - Your Question:
If my wife and I of 2 years have separated and we have no children and I paid all the mortgage on my house that I owned before we met that we lived in (she has her own flat) due to the fact that she was setting up a business. Why do I have to pay her a settlement as she will be better off than me in the future and she paid nothing to the mortgage while she lived in the house, this seems completely unfair as we are on approximately the same salary (30K) We separated as we stopped having intimate relations and there was no other party involved and it was brought up by her that we should split and I agreed with her, better for both of us in the long term.Many Thanks for your response in advance

Our Response:
You don't say who has issued this 'settlement'. If you are going on suggestions from her solicitor, then obviously your ex's solicitor will be acting in her favour. If the award has been issued through the courts, then we cannot comment on any court decision, as the decision will have been made on the information gathered and collated. Therefore, I'm afraid it makes it difficult to comment on your question.
SeparatedDads - 2-Feb-16 @ 11:11 AM
If my wife and i of 2 years have separated and we have no children and i paid all the mortgage on my house that i owned before we met that we lived in (she has her own flat) due to the fact that she was setting up abusiness. Why do i have to pay her a settlement as she will be better off than me in the future and she paid nothing to the mortgage while she lived in the house, this seems completely unfair as we are on approximately the same salary (30K) We separated as we stopped having intimate relations and there was no other party involved and it was brought up by her that we should split and i agreed with her, better for both of us in the long term. Many Thanks for your response in advance
jd220215 - 1-Feb-16 @ 5:26 PM
D - Your Question:
My ex wife lives with me and she doesnt thank she has to pay rent. I believe she does she makes 1000 a month and I have been paying her rent. Im tired of it and want to stop paying for her rent.

Our Response:
If she is your ex wife and you are not living together as man and wife, then your wife should in fairness contribute to the finances. However, this is something you would need to agree between you, as with any person you are sharing accommodation with.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jan-16 @ 10:06 AM
My ex wife lives with me and she doesnt thank she has to pay rent.I believe she does she makes 1000a month and i have been paying her rent. Im tired of it and want to stop paying for her rent.
D - 24-Jan-16 @ 2:30 AM
@itsveryover - I would expect your solicitor to have objected to putting you under this financial strain. You are not legally bound to pay for your ex's rent or utility bills (unless the money is coming from a joint or marital account). You are only legally bound to pay child support. I should seek some legal advice asap.
Matt - 21-Jan-16 @ 11:06 AM
My wife moved out of our rented house with our children after she started divorce proceedings against me and I had to pay 6 months rent upfront for her to be able to get a flat temporarily while we agreed the settlement. I also moved out and got a cheaper flat instead. She then refused a very good offer for a settlement, which would have allowed her to buy a suitable property for her and the children. As my income is considerably lower than she thought it was, she is not happy that I could not afford to pay her any spousal maintenance on top of child maintenance. She could work as she was before (earning more than me!), but has not worked at all for 7 months and I am having to pay for all her utilities and council tax as well as my own and a generous weekly amount on top. We had an FDA hearing a couple of months ago and her solicitors asked me so many trivial questions about my income and expenses it took me a month to answer them all. We are heading towards a FDH hearing soon, as her solicitors have not made a counter offer yet. Her solicitors have now demanded that I find and pay for another 6 months rent in advance, as apparently the landlords will evict her if I don't. I have already borrowed to the limit of my overdraft, credit cards, family etc. and I don't know what I am expected to do now. What do you advise I do?
itsveryover - 20-Jan-16 @ 6:15 PM
mavrickman - Your Question:
I been separted for 8 yrs she took me to court 5yrs ago and the judge order to pay $500.00 a month I ask my lawyer how long I have pay her this for life.this true

Our Response:
I'm afraid as we are a UK-based website, we can't advise on US-based law. You would have to speak with your lawyer. However, if your circumstances have changed and you can no longer pay, then you may be able to have this re-assessed through the courts.
SeparatedDads - 26-Nov-15 @ 10:45 AM
I been separted for 8 yrs she took me to court 5yrs ago and the judge order to pay $500.00 a month I ask my lawyer how long I have pay her this for life.this true
mavrickman - 25-Nov-15 @ 3:25 PM
I am a Private employee, My wife filed case under DVC, and she send mail request for my salary details under right of information ACT, private company need to provide employee details? please let me know
badal - 5-Nov-15 @ 9:37 AM
pumpkin - Your Question:
Partner's ex of over 7 years ago has now started asking for money for the two children (even demanding more than what she actually paid for stuff). They divorced years ago and the court decided she got the house (900k) and he got almost nothing - luckily the court decided - as she got a lot of equity - that he did not have to pay maintenance (this all happened after a terrible bereavement on his behalf which she wasn't prepared to help with, gathering information on him, telling lies etc - just to take him to the cleaners). His way of thinking is that she should sell the house and get something smaller if she is struggling (which he is doing - paying rent etc). He's not allowed to talk to her (took an injunction on him - again lies) which personally I think is a blessing (though not for the kids who do not know what is going on and want them to talk - believe me, he has tried). So can she just suddenly ask for money is my question.

Our Response:
If the court decided your partner did not have to pay maintenance, then your partner can legally continue to say no to his ex's demands. However, his ex may be able to take this back to court and apply to have the order changed (this also depends on if there was a time limit on the order). It does not mean the court will rule in her favour, but if your partner's circumstances have changed i.e he is earning more, then the court may take this into account.
SeparatedDads - 4-Nov-15 @ 12:36 PM
partner's ex of over 7 years ago has now started asking for money for the two children (even demanding more than what she actually paid for stuff). They divorced years ago and the court decided she got the house (900k) and he got almost nothing - luckily the court decided - as she got a lot of equity - that he did not have to pay maintenance (this all happened after a terrible bereavement on his behalf which she wasn't prepared to help with, gathering information on him, telling lies etc - just to take him to the cleaners).His way of thinking is that she should sell the house and get something smaller if she is struggling (which he is doing - paying rent etc).He's not allowed to talk to her (took an injunction on him - again lies) which personally I think is a blessing (though not for the kids who do not know what is going on and want them to talk - believe me, he has tried). So can she just suddenly ask for money is my question.
pumpkin - 3-Nov-15 @ 1:32 PM
For Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support if you have capital of up to £10,000 it is ignored. The upper capital limit is £16,000 and if you have more than this, you will not be entitled to any Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support, unless you qualify for Pension Credit Guarantee Credit. There are no capital (savings) limits with respect to non means-tested benefits. But, I'd speak with your Citizens Advice Bureau just to make sure.
Kate - 21-Sep-15 @ 2:26 PM
I've been married 30 yrs and have now split and going for divorce. I'm on incopacity,houseing bennifits and low price council tax. My husband want to give me a 75,000cash settlement. If I recieve this cas will my benifits be cut?
Mcgraw1963 - 20-Sep-15 @ 7:44 PM
Richard - Your Question:
Hi, I'm separated from my wife due to my adultery (to be honest, we should have split years ago, the affair was a symptom not the problem). I'm living on my own in a rented flat. We have two boys, 12 and 14. I'm currently paying my wife £400 per week which covers my two sons and includes 50% of: car fuel, car insurance, car tax, insurances for dishwasher, washing machine, central heating breakdown etc, Council tax, Building/contents insurance, Gas, Credit cards (all in her name), Electric, Sewerage, TV licence, her mobile, Life Insurance, Other Ins. , boiler,d/washer etc) ,House keeping (food etc), Sky television/broadband/telephone, RAC, Private dental insurancebank account fee.According to the CSA website I should be paying around £100 per week toward my sons upkeep (I'm self employed so my earnings fluctuate). Whilst I agree that I should assist toward paying for the running of the house and the mortgage, I feel that some of the things I am paying toward are quite frankly, taking the micky! Also, she refuses to hand over credit card details so that I can ensure that I'm not paying toward an ever increasing debt (£31,000 when we split, all on her name, I have no cards and never have had). Can you offer your advise/opinion?

Our Response:
Are you paying through an agency such as the CSA or CMS, or is this a family-based arrangement? If it is a family-based one then it really is an arrangement between you and her, therefore you would need to broach this directly with her. Child support is fundamentally for the day-to-day upkeep and welfare of your child, not your ex wife. I certainly do not think you should be paying her credit card debts, unless you feel that you want to. Other payments such as mortgage ones come from a practical sense, for instance if the house is in joint names it is in your best interests to help out in order that you do not fall behind with the mortgage payments. However, it certainly seems that in this family-based arrangement you are paying above and beyond what the CMS/CSA would expect from you, unless of course your earnings reflected this amount.
SeparatedDads - 24-Aug-15 @ 12:28 PM
Hi, I'm separated from my wife due to my adultery (to be honest, we should have split years ago, the affair was a symptom not the problem).I'm living on my own in a rented flat.We have two boys, 12 and 14.I'm currently paying my wife £400 per week which covers my two sons and includes 50% of: car fuel, car insurance, car tax, insurances for dishwasher, washing machine, central heating breakdown etc, Council tax, Building/contents insurance, Gas, Credit cards (all in her name), Electric, Sewerage, TV licence, her mobile, Life Insurance, Other Ins., boiler,d/washer etc) , House keeping (food etc), Sky television/broadband/telephone, RAC, Private dental insurance bank account fee. According to the CSA website I should be paying around £100 per week toward my sons upkeep (I'm self employed so my earnings fluctuate).Whilst I agree that I should assist toward paying for the running of the house and the mortgage, I feel that some of the things I am paying toward are quite frankly, taking the micky!Also, she refuses to hand over credit card details so that I can ensure that I'm not paying toward an ever increasing debt (£31,000 when we split, all on her name, I have no cards and never have had).Can you offer your advise/opinion?
Richard - 21-Aug-15 @ 1:06 PM
Pego - Your Question:
Wife & I are legally married but living apart! She cheated (adultery,infidelity), I gave her a choice to stay with me & work things out in counseling & stay married! She chose to move out. I pay for everything she has now & her medical bills too! Do I have to support her while we go thru divorce & after we get divorce??

Our Response:
Once you are legally separated you do not have to support her. You only have to help support your dependent children, if you have any. Once the divorce is finalised, and you are financially separated, then you will be considered a single person with no commitment to her at all.
SeparatedDads - 11-Aug-15 @ 2:49 PM
Wife & I are legally married but living apart! She cheated (adultery,infidelity), I gave her a choice to stay with me & work things out in counseling & stay married! She chose to move out. I pay for everything she has now & her medical bills too! Do I have to support her while we go thru divorce & after we get divorce??
Pego - 9-Aug-15 @ 4:48 PM
Been divorced over 3 years. Ex husband wants to claim support from me. We have no kids no possession in common.Am I obliged?
bb - 26-Jul-15 @ 10:13 AM
@gryt1973 - you don't have to contribute if you are not on the tenancy agreement any longer. The only reason why you might have to is if you were tied in and you certainly don't need to pay for the internet or phone, she should take that over if she is living there. Your ex sounds like she's on a good deal!
Mitch - 14-Jul-15 @ 11:32 AM
Me and my wife are separated we have 2 boys 12 and 10 I give her £200 a week ,for them. We lived in a rented property she is still there with the kids and her new bloke , should I have to pay any rent, as I am still paying half on top of the £200 aweek I pay for the kids as well as the internet and home phone.
gryt1973 - 11-Jul-15 @ 10:36 AM
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