Judge directs man to pay €1,900 maintenance per month for two children and €95,000 to ex-wife

Proper provision orders made in High Court divorce proceedings

A man must pay almost €1,900 monthly maintenance for his two children plus €95,000, half of one of his pensions, to his estranged wife, a High Court judge has directed.

Ms Justice Nuala Jackson made the orders in a judgment on proper provision in divorce proceedings involving the woman, who is Irish, and the man from another European country.

The couple, both working qualified professionals, met in another country, country B, and married in Ireland. They lived in country B but, after their relationship of several years broke down, the woman returned to Ireland with their young children.

Agreed separation terms were ruled upon by the courts of country B and an agreement permitted the children’s relocation to live in Ireland with their mother and dealt with access for their father. After difficulties relating to access led to the man taking Irish High Court proceedings, access orders were made last year, to be reviewed next year.

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The country B separation agreement required the man to pay monthly child maintenance of €5,880, plus half his net annual bonus. This was a reduction on the €8,350 monthly maintenance payable before the children relocated.

The division of the property of the parties, including proceeds of sale of the family home, was dealt with by the courts of country B.

In the case before Ms Justice Jackson, the parties wanted a decree of divorce that required the judge to be satisfied about proper provision for them and their dependent children.

Many changes of circumstances have occurred since the country B maintenance agreement was made, including the man having bought a house in Ireland for himself and his new partner, with both sharing mortgage expenses, the judge noted.

The man and his ex-wife had changed jobs, resulting in him having a lower annual salary of €135,000 while she has a higher salary of €105,000. Both have bonus entitlements.

The man wanted the child monthly maintenance sum cut to €1,300. The woman sought €3,000 for reasons including she is renting accommodation and wants to buy a home at a likely cost of €450,000 with substantial mortgage repayments funded by her alone.

The judge’s decision on proper provision was based on factors including the current financial position of the parties and the pension position.

The man’s house purchase was “sensible” but the means of funding and repaying it, via a seven-year loan, appeared calculated to reduce his disposable income, she said. He also claimed it would cost an “excessive” €660 monthly for maintenance and repair of his new home.

His desire to maximise pension provision by making maximum pension payments was “understandable” but should not occur to the detriment of the children’s support needs and “definitely not” while some maintenance sums remain unpaid, she said. Other matters included his plan to buy a “much larger and more luxurious” motor vehicle under a scheme involving monthly repayments of €688.

The woman, the judge noted, has net employment income of €6,500 monthly, including bonus and car allowance, and receives children’s allowance. Her rent is €3,500 monthly and she has childcare costs.

The woman, the judge estimated, has €120,000 available for a deposit on a house and her “onerous” rental obligations meant she might have to use some of her capital resources to sustain accommodation costs in the short term.

The total €2,573 monthly costs of direct out of pocket expenses for the children should be divided equally between the parties, meaning each pays €1,286, the judge said. Having calculated the man’s share of subsistence expenses for both children at an additional €600, this brought his monthly maintenance payment to €1,886.

The judge took into account the man will be paying costs and expenses for another child expected with his new partner.

On pensions, the judge directed the woman get a half share, valued at €95,000 up to the date of divorce, of a private pension of the man. He will keep a contributory pension from his home country, plus another pension. The woman will keep €110,000 of a pension held by her.

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