Patience rewarded with significant increase in maintenance

Our client wished to divorce her husband. During the marriage, our client worked in her husband’s company but her main occupation was taking care of their young children. The issue in the divorce was whether the husband had to pay the wife a maintenance allowance for herself and for their children.

The husband had his own business. The income of someone with their own business is generally calculated by taking the average of the trading results for the three years preceding the year in which the divorce takes place. In this case the husband had had a very bad year in 2009 and suffered significant losses in his business. Although the two subsequent years were reasonably good, the average was very low due to the poor result in 2009. The provisional assessment awarded a very low amount of child maintenance and refused the application for partner maintenance due to the husband’s inability to pay. This assessment took place in 2012.

The divorce hearing was due to take place several months later. On behalf of our client, we were able to postpone the hearing until 2013. As a consequence, the year 2009 was no longer relevant for the husband’s average income as the calculation was now based on 2012, 2011 and 2012. This meant that the year in which he suffered losses was ignored and resulted in the husband having a much higher average income, increasing his ability to pay and enabling his wife to apply for maintenance allowance.

The husband attempted to prevent this by failing to submit any accounts for 2012 but the court agreed with our objection to this tactic. There is an assumption that after February/March 2013 a business will have at least provisional results for 2012 available. As the man did not produce these results, the court used an estimate and based this on the previous year, 2011. As the results in 2011 were very good, the average trading results over 2010, 2011 and 2012 were calculated as being significantly higher, so we were able to obtain a significant sum of child maintenance and partner maintenance for our client. This allowed her to move off benefits and build a new life with her two children.

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