Our client had been paying his ex-wife a substantial maintenance payment every month for a number of years and she had told the court that the sacrifices she had made during their marriage left her unable to find full-time work through lack of skills. She was claiming to be working as a part-time cleaner 6-10 hours a week and unable to financially support herself.
Unlike Scotland, in England there is no limit on how long a partner may have to pay maintenance, the theory behind it makes perfect sense and offers financial support to a partner who may have sacrificed a career or promotions to look after children or one of many other reasons. In practice though we find many situations where a partner has moved on with their life and is financially stable yet still claiming maintenance payments.
Through the grapevine our client had heard that she was working at least 2-3 times as many hours as she was claiming, unfortunately she lived in a rural village which meant conducting surveillance was a tricky task especially as there was no way to see when she entered or left home. The team assessed the situation and decided that it was proportionate to use a vehicle tracking device to detect when she was leaving and then begin to follow her and build up an idea of how many hours she was working. Whilst the vehicle was out one morning in town a member of the team walked past and without drawing any unwanted attention discreetly attached the small magnetic tracking device under the vehicle.
Using the tracking device we were able to follow the vehicle from a greater distance and ensure the subject never became aware of our presence, over the coming days we built a picture of her working routine and were able to remove the device from the vehicle. Over the following couple of weeks we were able to put together a routine and provide an estimate of the amount of hours she appeared to be working. This information was supplied to our clients solicitor and used to apply for financial disclosure, the earnings that the woman claimed were significantly different to the ones stated in the financial disclosure. The results ultimately allowed the court to reassess the woman’s situation and significantly decrease the maintenance payments that our client was making.