A Judge’s word is final and you would hope so too otherwise what is the point in a final order? But what if circumstances change and your ‘final order’ is no longer fit for purpose?

Let’s take divorce as an example, your final order states that spousal maintenance is to be paid to your ex until your children are 18 but that was made on the basis you earnt £100,000 a year. You have now sadly lost your job and the prospect of any future employment with that income is next to impossible and you simply cannot afford to pay the maintenance.

If circumstances change, you can apply for an order for your spousal maintenance to be varied or discharged however you cannot amend an order because your ex now earns more money than at the time of the divorce and because of this you want a monthly top up. In fact the court are quite reluctant to change their decision, after all it was called a final order, and therefore they will consider the children’s needs, any changes to the parties needs, the earning capacity of both and the resources of both to determine if this justifies a variation to the order.

Although maintenance payments have the ability to be varied, capital payments are quite the opposite. Lets say your ex wins the lottery a year after your divorce is finalised… some would assume they could go back to court and vary their order to receive a lump sum payment… wrong. Capital orders cannot be varied as the courts want divorcing couples to have a level of financial certainty and not have the constant threat that their ex might be round the corner waiting for new financial success, an unexpected inheritance or a lottery win!

If circumstances have changed and you want to discuss whether your final order is in fact final or has the ability to be amended, please drop Stephanie an email at  stephanie@kleymansolicitors.com or Kathryn at kathryn@kleymansolicitors.com.