Some people will have an order for a substantial amount of spousal maintenance, whilst others will have provision for a nominal amount. Either way, if your circumstances have changed, you can apply to increase or decrease these payments. An application to vary a spousal maintenance order can be made at any time during the life of the order. It should be noted that once an application to increase maintenance is before the court, the court can make an order not only to increase but to decrease maintenance also. In addition to this, the court can shorten the length of time for which payments should continue.
You can apply to vary the terms of your spousal maintenance order if there has been a material change in your circumstances. The most commonly used changes for seeking an order to vary spousal maintenance are cohabitation, employment, retirement or an alternate agreement between the parties.
Either party can apply to vary maintenance. If you are the recipient you can apply to increase it and as a payer your ex partner can apply to reduce it.
The court will look at the evidence from both parties of their income and outgoings, financial circumstances and an explanation for how these have changed. The court will consider the needs of any dependent children, and how reasonable both parties’ outgoings are. You will have to show that your ex has surplus income over and above their reasonable needs. The court will also want to see evidence of why your earning capacity is insufficient and why you are unable to meet your needs within your current income.
The court can only award maintenance if there is sufficient evidence of your ex partners income. This is easy to establish if your ex partner is an employee, if they are self-employed then it can sometimes be difficult but our specialist lawyers know what to look out for.
Call us for further advice on spousal maintenance.