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Do I Have to Pay My Wife a Certain Amount?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 3 Sep 2018 | 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.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Hi I have been separated for 6 years from my wife and am now expecting a child. My ex has found out and is sending outstsnadibg debts my way to deal with. I already still pay the mortgage on the house she lives in. Is she entitled to send me these bills and do I actually have to pay them?
Anthony - 3-Sep-18 @ 4:26 PM
Cal1 - Your Question:
HiI left my wife 18 months ago after having an affair and being caught, the marriage had broken down due to her trying to take her own life several times and attacking me both verbally and physically.I am still with the woman in question, I have a mortgage with my wife, and her and my youngest son live in it along with 2 of my grown up children, my wife is a constant liar. And I can't trust anything she says, she lost me my job and I am now working for my new girlfriend as she has her own business, I earn £150 per week and am currently paying £215 towards the mortgage And child maintainence, my girlfriend pays everything in our house, my wife is saying that she will go for half my new partners business which of course she isn't entitled to, she is also saying she will try to get payments back dated for child maintainence. but I have Been paying more than the recommended maintainence already, I'm confused. what should I be paying. Is it just the child maintainence calculater payments or more? According to the childmaintainence calculator I should be paying only £22 per week.

Our Response:
If you wish to maintain the mortgage on your house and stop it falling into repossession, then you are legally bound to continue to pay your mortgage lender. With regards to child maintenance payments, you can either have a family-based arrangement where you agree between you both. There are no set rules here and the calculator is a benchmark figure, if needed. If you are in a family-based child maintenance arrangement, then your ex cannot claim back pay for child maintenance. The only way she can claim back pay is if she has previously registered with CMS and you have not paid.
SeparatedDads - 6-Jul-18 @ 3:39 PM
Hi I left my wife 18 months ago after having an affair and being caught, the marriage had broken down due to her trying to take her own life several times and attacking me both verbally and physically. I am still with the woman in question, I have a mortgage with my wife, and her and my youngest son live in it along with 2 of my grown up children, my wife is a constant liar .. And I can't trust anything she says, she lost me my job and I am now working for my new girlfriend as she has her own business, I earn £150 per week and am currently paying £215 towards the mortgage And child maintainence, my girlfriend pays everything in our house, my wife is saying that she will go for half my new partners business which of course she isn't entitled to, she is also saying she will try to get payments back dated for child maintainence.. but I have Been paying more than the recommended maintainencealready, I'm confused... what should I be paying.. Is it just the child maintainence calculater payments or more? According to the childmaintainence calculator i should be paying only £22 per week ...
Cal1 - 5-Jul-18 @ 11:05 PM
Kellie Faulkner - Your Question:
My husband and I have been married for 12years and just now have 3 month old baby girl.We all live at my Father's house and I had to make him leave bcuz of his drug use and he has made our baby go without for and diapers at times. My dad always gets it when my husband doesn't.Also he makes good money at his job,but has a gambling problem. I want a divorce.Does he have to pay for me and our daughter for a place to live. He's been the soul provider for 15years.

Our Response:
Your husband is under no obligation to provide a place to live for you and your daughter. However, you can claim child maintenance from him towards the day-to-day care of your child, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 4-Jun-18 @ 12:35 PM
My husband and I have been married for 12years and just now have 3 month old baby girl.We all live at my Father's house and I had to make him leave bcuz of his drug use and he has made our baby go without for and diapers at times. My dad always gets it when my husband doesn't.Also he makes good money at his job,but has a gambling problem. I want a divorce.Does he have to pay for me and our daughter for a place to live. He's been the soul provider for 15years.
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stephanie - 27-May-18 @ 3:05 PM
Hi. I married in 2014 abroad and my wife came over the following on a spouse visa. I am British and lived in the UK all my life. We have a toddler who is less than 2 years old. My w8fe now says she wants a divorce because I don't show her enough attention. I am low earner who earns just 22k per annum but have q house I bought a le of years ago with q mortgage and am just meeting my needs at the moment. If we had a divorce would she get half the house? I can't afford to support myself as well as her and my kid since I am just managing at the moment while all 3 of us live together in the same house.
John - 26-May-18 @ 8:28 PM
Hodges - Your Question:
Sorry I need to amend this my ex isn’t working and doesn’t have any benefits coming in, child maintenance won’t consider any payments due to him living off the £82,000

Our Response:
Unless the money is taxable through HMRC, then it is not considered as 'income/earnings'. I'm afraid CMS can only calculate child maintenance based upon taxable earnings of the non-resident parent.
SeparatedDads - 10-Nov-17 @ 3:02 PM
Sorry I need to amend this my ex isn’t working and doesn’t have any benefits coming in, child maintenance won’t consider any payments due to him living off the £82,000
Hodges - 10-Nov-17 @ 12:57 PM
Stuart - Your Question:
Hi , am a father to a one year old son the mother never put me on the birth certificate even tho I was at the birth and stayed together when the child was born , she left in January 2017 without telling me , av had access up intill August and now av missed his 1st birthday and the mother has blocked me and my family from contact , av sent lawyers letter for access without a reply now I have a child maintenance letter asking for money , I phoned them and contested and asked for a DNA now she’s deciding what to do. What’s next ?

Our Response:
Regardless of whether you have access, by law if you are the biological father of your child, then you still are responsible for paying towards his day-to-day upkeep in the form of child maintenance. If you feel you may not be the father of your child, then please see link here which tells you the procedure for applying for a DNA test. If you feel you are the father and decide not to go ahead and request a DNA test, you may want to apply for access. First of all you would have to suggest your ex attends mediation in order to sort out your issues, please see link here . If your ex refuses, then you may wish to either apply to court for parental responsibility, please see link here and/or for access to be re-instated, please see link here. If you are applying for a DNA test, you may wish to wait until the results are returned. If they are deemed positive then you may wish to apply for access. If the test proves you are not the child's father, then you will not be allowed to apply for access and you will not have to pay child maintenance.
SeparatedDads - 31-Oct-17 @ 12:32 PM
Hi , am a father to a one year old son the mother never put me on the birth certificate even tho I was at the birth and stayed together when the child was born , she left in January 2017 without telling me , av had access up intill August and now av missed his 1st birthday and the mother has blocked me and my family from contact , av sent lawyers letter for access without a reply now I have a child maintenance letter asking for money , I phoned them and contested and asked for a DNA now she’s deciding what to do. What’s next ?
Stuart - 30-Oct-17 @ 9:11 AM
Gab - Your Question:
My husband of 46years left for a younger woman I am on disability doese he need to pay maintenance

Our Response:
Are you talking about child maintenance or spousal maintenance? If so, you can see more here which will advise further.
SeparatedDads - 18-Sep-17 @ 3:57 PM
My husband of 46years left for a younger woman I am on disability doese he need to pay maintenance
Gab - 17-Sep-17 @ 8:13 PM
Kellich - Your Question:
Well I'm not divorced yet there's been talk of it we did separate a boats 4 years ago we've been married since 2010 together I mean she did cheat on me back in 2013 and we did separate due to that she also left the province to gather her thoughts you slept with 5 different guys in a matter of six months started relationship with one for about 3 weeks cheated on him and now we kind of worked it out got back together and nothing's really been the same we moved to another small town and things started getting good and she ended up starting meet new friends saying that she doesn't have a life saying that I don't love her I'm not sure what to do we have for kids she deleted me from Facebook she's deleted some of my family members from Facebook all the red flags are there I just don't know where I stand and what I should do from here I'd like to get somebody to talk to you so I can not mess my life up anymore just really don't know what to do

Our Response:
If you wish to communicate with other fathers, then you may wish to join the forum here .
SeparatedDads - 28-Jul-17 @ 12:49 PM
Well I'm not divorced yet there's been talk of it we did separate a boats 4 years ago we've been married since 2010 together I mean she did cheat on me back in 2013 and we did separate due to that she also left the province to gather her thoughts you slept with 5 different guys in a matter of six months started relationship with one for about 3 weeks cheated on him and now we kind of worked it out got back together and nothing's really been the same we moved to another small town and things started getting good and she ended up starting meet new friends saying that she doesn't have a life saying that I don't love her I'm not sure what to do we have for kids she deleted me from Facebook she's deleted some of my family members from Facebook all the red flags are there I just don't know where I stand and what I should do from here I'd like to get somebody to talk to you so I can not mess my life up anymore just really don't know what to do
Kellich - 27-Jul-17 @ 8:20 AM
JA - Your Question:
Hello, I would like to share my situation to get some info on what I can expect to happen. And any advice. My wife cheated on me, said she wants to leave me and is now seeing the other man. We have a 2 year old child. We are currently still living together and own a joint mortgage.(i paid the full 20k deposit) She is on a low income but is looking to increase her contract to enable free childcare. I'm on a higher wage than her (30k per year) as it stands she wants me to move out, pay csa, pay half the mortgage, and pay for her leased car. I obviously want to pay for my child. But find it hard to accept to pay for a house I would not be living in and a car that is not mine. Does anyone know if I am best taking it to the courts to decide or just agree her terms?

Our Response:
You can see how much child maintenance you would be paying via the link here. With regards to the car, you do not have to pay your ex anything towards this unless your name is on the loan. Legally you are obliged to pay towards the mortgage if you own the house together. However, you may wish to seek legal advice to see whether your wife has the option to buy you out or whether you should jointly decide whether to sell. Legal advice would be advisable here in order to explore your best options. Mediation may be the best way to sort your issues out if you cannot resolve them between yourselves.
SeparatedDads - 17-Jul-17 @ 2:38 PM
Hello, I would like to share my situation to get some info on what I can expect to happen. And any advice. My wife cheated on me, said she wants to leave me and is now seeing the other man. We have a 2 year old child. We are currently still living together and own a joint mortgage.(i paid the full 20k deposit) She is on a low income but is looking to increase her contract to enable free childcare. I'm on a higher wage than her (30k per year)as it stands she wants me to move out, pay csa, pay half the mortgage, and pay for her leased car. I obviously want to pay for my child. But find it hard to accept to pay for a house I would not be living in and a car that is not mine. Does anyone know if I am best taking it to the courts to decide or just agree her terms?
JA - 16-Jul-17 @ 11:01 AM
Will - Your Question:
Hi, I've been split from my wife for over two years. We have a 5 year old daughter, who spends the same number of nights with me as her mother. I'm still currently paying half the mortgage and contributing to clothes and child care each month. My ex is trying to sell the house and then both of them move in with her boyfriend. Access will not change, but she wants to arrange child maintenance before they move in, why would she need to do this first? I'm not trying to get out of any payments, but if we both have her the same amount of nights, but my ex thinks that because she has her extra hours after school two days a week, I should pay more.

Our Response:
Possibly the best way to arrange child maintenance is to use the CMS calculator via the link here . This gives you a good benchmark. As the non-resident father, child maintenance is based upon the amount of nights you have your child staying over. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 14-Jul-17 @ 12:34 PM
Hi, I've been split from my wife for over two years. We have a 5 year old daughter, who spends the same number of nights with me as her mother. I'm still currently paying half the mortgage and contributing to clothes and child care each month. My ex is trying to sell the house and then both of them move in with her boyfriend. Access will not change, but she wants to arrange child maintenance before they move in, why would she need to do this first? I'm not trying to get out of any payments, but if we both have her the same amount of nights, but my ex thinks that because she has her extra hours after school two days a week, I should pay more.
Will - 13-Jul-17 @ 9:04 PM
I separate from one year ago she have boyfriend I have two kids i paying my80% income gas,electricity bill,rent shopping etc I have no much wages But should I do
R - 8-Jun-17 @ 12:22 AM
Hello there. I'm going through a very messy divorce at the minute. My wife asked for a divorce back in 2010 and still managed to live in the same house with me for 6 years. I Still paid for things like her caravan, eyes lasered, cars and such even when I did not need to. When we went to mediation in 2010 she said and wrote down that she would not go for spousal maintenance and any pensions from before we were even together, she has now claimed she wants to go for these. She is now saying I need to pay for her bills and if I do not cooperate she will take me to court and I will need to foot the expenses of that too. Is this right?! I pay her £800 a month already for child maintenance. She's asking for a further £400 a month for herself and now she's expecting me to pay her bills. Her son is 15 and she is claiming to the solicitors she cannot work because of him. Can I have adivce on how the courts will see this? Am I right in thinking I do not need to pay her bills for her? Thank you in advance
Bridge - 28-Apr-17 @ 2:06 PM
brokenman - Your Question:
HiI have recently split form my wife due to my affair, we should have split. I have admitted to my misgivings. I still live at home as my wife.ex.and 2 yar old daughter.is studying finance for the rest of the year and will be on a salary of 40 to 80 k after next year whn she returns to work. I have singed a letter a long time ago saying I have no interest in the house( obviously I didn't see an affair coming) there is a back story with her but we will keep it simple for now. I recently sold my flat and paid 80k in to paying of ours loans and house improvement. I am currently paying for everything like bills and mortgage even though it is her name and I will not be getting anything form it when I do move out. questions.>am I entitled to anything. I know I signed something but still.to put 80 k in to it and get nothing when we split as she wants to keep house.>do I have to pay for all this still. I want to support her to qualify and be financially secure for her and my daughter but..im loosing patience with her and it all>she will get legal advise soon so what am I expecting her to say. She has already told me I HAVE to pay for it all.but really? HELP

Our Response:
You don't say how the letter was signed (whether you agreed between you or whether is was through a solicitor etc). Yes you have a right to challenge this if there has been a variation in circumstances and/or you can prove you have spent money on refurbishments etc as this will be taken into consideration if the matter goes to financial arbitration or court. However, you would need to seek legal advice on this as it is also unlikely a court would force your ex to sell the property due to the fact you have a two-year-old child (a court will always consider the child's best interests first and keeping a roof over her head is of paramount importance). Please note, you will not be judged on having an affair (should the matter go to court), this is a non-contributory issue.
SeparatedDads - 4-Apr-17 @ 10:23 AM
hi I have recently split form my wife due to my affair, we should have split. I have admitted to my misgivings. I still live at home as my wife..ex..and 2 yar old daughter...is studying finance for the rest of the year and will be on a salary of 40 to 80 k after next year whn she returns to work. I have singed a letter a long time ago saying I have no interest in the house( obviously I didn't see an affair coming) there is a back story with her but we will keep it simple for now. I recently sold my flat and paid 80k in to paying of ours loans and house improvement. I am currently paying for everything like bills and mortgage even though it is her name and I will not be getting anything form it when I do move out. questions. >am I entitled to anything. I know I signed something but still......to put 80 k in to it and get nothing when we split as she wants to keep house. >do I have to pay for all this still. I want to support her to qualify and be financially secure for her and my daughter but .........im loosing patience with her and it all >she will get legal advise soon so what am I expecting her to say. She has already told me I HAVE to pay for it all.....but really? HELP
brokenman - 3-Apr-17 @ 11:55 AM
Hi I'm seperated from my wife because I.Having an affair .. I own my own business which my wife helps out in by answering the phone ... do I have to pay her maintenance and wages while we're seperated . Also my wife was paying phone bill for my business and I borrowed money off her .do I have to pay her back
Tez - 28-Feb-17 @ 11:14 PM
Sir, by reading the above discussion while separating, husband has to pay some percent of salary amount regularly or every month as per the law. My point is why can't this percentage of salary could not be considered tax free without being divorced? generally, a salaried person has to pay double-triple taxes for the amount earned by him. consider my salary is Rs. 100/- after (TDS by the employer @ 30.90%) the net salary in hand will be 100-30.90=69.10. When the same net amount goes for purchasing any thing he has to pay VAT, and other taxes. The ultimate net salary comes to Rs. 50/- only. Please suggest Is there any law exist for this? sunil
sunil - 22-Feb-17 @ 6:56 AM
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
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