Do You Still To Pay Maintenance When Your Ex Has A New Partner?

If you have divorced and your ex is now happily living with a new partner, you may be wondering why you still need to pay supportive maintenance. This is a common question asked by men, particularly if the new man in their ex's life appears to have plenty of cash.

So, do you still have to pay maintenance to your ex-wife if you don't have children?

Basic maintenance payments

When couples divorce, the courts will consider the 'reasonable needs' of the parties involved. The joint assets will be shared out fairly so that both parties can move forward, able to cope financially with their new situation.

However, if the wife has no income or earns much less than her husband, she will require maintenance payments from him. A cut-off point is sometimes added to the terms of the settlement, by which time the wife is expected to be self-sufficient.

However, often the ex-husband is expected to continue to pay maintenance to the ex-wife until she remarries or dies.

Changing circumstances

If the ex-wife meets someone else and lives with him, her financial circumstances may change. He may contribute to the running costs of the home or give her money for food. Although they are living together, they are not married. This means that she can legally continue to receive maintenance from her ex-husband, unless she agrees to vary the court order and accept a reduced sum from him.

What you can do

If you find yourself in this situation and your ex-wife is adamant that she won't be remarrying, you will need to instruct a family lawyer to apply to the court for a reduction in the amount of maintenance that you pay.

The court will take into account the amount that you currently pay, whilst considering any evidence you can provide that your ex-wife is actually co-habiting full-time with someone else.

You will need to prove that your ex-wife's new relationship is likely to be for the long term and that she therefore no longer needs your payments.

Although this may sound like a 'done deal', the courts will regard the ex-wife's new situation as possibly temporary because she is not married to her new partner. The maintenance that you pay her is awarded because of the fact that she contributed to her marriage, which could have meant that she didn't pursue a career and consequently never reached her full earning potential.

Maintenance payments are a complicated matter that should be best handled by a qualified and experienced family lawyer. If you are in circumstances where you think that you should no longer have to make maintenance payments to your ex, seek legal advice on how to proceed.