My husband is refusing to pay me my maintenance. He agreed to pay me £500 a month for 5 years but he has stopped as he says he doesn’t have to pay it anymore as I have a boyfriend. I have looked at the court order and I can't see anything that says he can stop paying me maintenance if I have a new partner. Anyway, he is not living with me full time. Can I force him to pay?

Areas of Expertise: 

Public Answer: 

Thank you for your enquiry. 
 
We would need to see the financial court order and look at the spousal maintenance clauses to advise you.
 
In some spousal maintenance court orders, the court order will state that the spousal maintenance will stop early if the person receiving the spousal maintenance cohabits with another person. If your order does not say that and your ex-husband has stopped the spousal maintenance payments, you could apply to court to enforce the spousal maintenance order.
 
Even if the spousal maintenance court order does not say that the spousal maintenance will stop early if the person receiving the spousal maintenance cohabits, your ex-husband could apply back to court to stop the spousal maintenance payments or reduce the amount he pays each month.
 
We would need to discuss with you whether your boyfriend would be classed as cohabiting with you. A boyfriend can stay a few nights a week and the court can say it is cohabitation. The definition of cohabitation is a bit complex. However, even if your boyfriend was living with you full time this may not necessarily affect the spousal maintenance payments. It all depends on your personal and financial circumstances.  
 
You do need family law advice on the spousal maintenance payments. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. When coming in to see us please bring the financial court order with you so we can advise you. Please call us.
 
Jordana Adams, Family Solicitor 
 
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