When a Spousal Maintenance Order is made the Court retains the power to vary that Order in the event that either party applies to vary at a later date. Usually an application to vary is made where there has been a meaningful change in circumstances e.g. one party losing their job or alternatively if one party’s income improved.
Before making an application to vary a maintenance order it is prudent to consider the likely legal fees that might be incurred set against the value of maintenance at stake. It would be foolhardy to spend significant sums in legal fees unless the amount of any change far exceeded those fees.
Capitalisation of Maintenance
The Court also has the power to capitalise spousal maintenance in appropriate circumstances. This means that a lump sum of money is paid from the paying party to the other which then brings an end to the spousal maintenance order. This typically occurs where the person paying maintenance comes into a significant lump sum and can afford to capitalise. The Courts are obliged to consider a Clean Break if at all possible.