It may be that the capitalisation of maintenance was considered at the time of the divorce but was not affordable or appropriate. However, circumstances can change.
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For example, what happens when there is a liquidity event within the trust, or the beneficial class changes with, for example, the death of a life tenant or the cost of capitalisation reduces as the age of the recipient of the maintenance increases? Unless the recipient remarries bringing the maintenance to an end automatically there is a real risk that the divorce settlement can be reopened.
Crucially, this can be the case whether the beneficiary is meeting the maintenance payments from their own earnings or from trust income or distributions. This prospect will inevitably be of significant concern to trustees and the beneficiaries of the relevant trust. It should be borne in mind that the process of applying to vary maintenance can be as lengthy and costly as the original divorce — and the outcome is notoriously difficult to predict.
In the recent case of Mills v Mills , the Supreme Court of England and Wales examined the ability of an ex-wife to vary her maintenance payments. Mrs Mills had divorced her husband around 15 years ago and she had received the majority of the liquid capital. In the subsequent period, Mrs Mills had purchased a large property with a substantial mortgage and made some poor investment decisions.
As a result, Mrs Mills no longer had enough capital to meet her needs, and therefore sought an increase in her maintenance to help fund her rent. In the meantime, the husband had remarried, and had a 9-year-old son. Although he had little liquid capital, the Supreme Court found his businesses were doing well.
Nevertheless, the risk of an increase in the annual sum and of a further capital award being made in lieu of ongoing maintenance remain.
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That is especially true of mortgage or investment payments, which may factor into decisions later on in your divorce case. Create a budget that shows exactly how your finances will look after the split, including the cost of any new housing, providing support for children, and other bills you are in part, or fully, responsible for.
You will have to provide this to the courts in order to finalize a settlement. Once you have started to understand your financial situation and begin the divorce process it will be time to begin telling family and friends about the split. How, when, and to whom will be totally your choice and there is no right or wrong way to go about announcing your divorce. But having a support network around you made up of loved ones will help you through the coming months and the stresses associated with even the most amicable breakup.
While divorce proceedings can often take more than six months to finalize, once the majority of the legal work is out of the way you can begin to really focus on your life. Whatever the backstory surrounding your divorce, the end of a relationship is traumatic and disruptive. However, it can also be a time of cleansing and rebirth, an opportunity to start over fresh. As difficult as the next several months can be, it can also be an exciting time with changes and improvements, based on genuine self-reflection and lessons learned during the course and breakdown of the marriage.
Many people will take the opportunity to get out and meet new friends. During a divorce, social groups can often become fractured, especially when there were mutual friends between the couple. It is also a great chance to find some new hobbies, or get involved with old ones. Of course, a big part of this time for parents will be dedicated to helping any children from the relationship cope with the divorce.
Being supportive and open, as well as letting them know that they are a priority, and are still very much loved by both parents, will be a starting point. Many school districts will offer support groups, classes and free therapy for different age groups.
If you are struggling, it may be helpful to seek therapy on your own. Doing this before choosing to date again could help you to make better decisions moving forward and avoid issues with a new partner. It may not always feel like it, but your divorce is a survivable situation. Over time and with some work!
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