Challenging and varying financial orders

Financial consent orders are designed to be final, especially given that the couple have essentially agreed to what may have been a hard-fought resolution.  However, circumstances change, and you may want to challenge or vary a financial settlement.

Over the course of her career, Rakhi Singal, the head of our family law team, has assisted many clients successfully challenge and vary financial orders.  We are meticulous in our preparation and planning, ensuring we listen to your objectives and then create a strategy to meet them. Rakhi and her team understand the family court system and how to create powerful arguments in their clients’ favour.

Contact our specialist financial settlement solicitors in London to discuss your matter

Our expert team of family law solicitors specialise in all disciplines including financial settlement, divorce, civil partnership dissolution and child law. For advice or a free assesment call 020 3372 5125 or complete our online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of financial orders can be varied?

Under section 31 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, the following financial orders can be varied by the Court:

  • Maintenance pending suit
  • Periodical payments and secured periodical payments
  • Lump sums by instalments – orders for lump sums or sums under section 23 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, not payable by instalments are not able to be varied
  • Provision for children
  • Deferred lump sums
  • Settlement orders
  • Sale of property – a property adjustment order can be varied if it concerns the sale of the property, in all other circumstances, a property adjustment order cannot be varied
  • Pension sharing orders -the application must be made before the order takes effect.

Can I challenge a financial order?

 A financial order can only be challenged on the grounds with which it was made.  For example:

  • Certain relevant facts were not disclosed by one party
  • There was fraud or misrepresentation
  • Undue influence

A financial order can also be successfully challenged if it can be proven a “Barder” event has occurred.  This is an event which occurs immediately or very soon after the order was made and destroys the fundamentals of the agreement.  The term “Barder” comes from the case of Barder v Barder (Caluori intervening)(1987) 2 FLR 480.  Here, an order was made transferring the family home from the husband to the wife as the children of the marriage lived primarily with her.  Weeks after the agreement, the wife killed herself and her children, leaving the house to her mother. The husband challenged the order transferring the house to his wife and succeeded because in taking the lives of the children, the wife took away the reason for the order, which was to provide the children with a home.

Challenging a financial order is complex and Courts will not do it unless there is a compelling reason, as in the tragic case of Barder.  Our Solicitors will quickly advise you if your challenge has a chance of success.  There may be other legal redresses available to you – if these have a higher chance of being achieved, we will take you through those options.

Can I have a financial order varied so I can achieve a clean break from my ex-spouse?

Many people wish to end periodic spousal maintenance payments so they can achieve a clean break from their spouse, especially if they have been making payments for many years.  The Court judges all such cases on its facts. We have the experience required to put together a persuasive argument to have an order varied so you can move on with your life/new relationship.

By instructing Rakhi and her team, you can be confident of receiving practical, smart, clear advice on challenging or varying a financial order.

To find out how we can advise and represent you, please contact our London office on   020 3372 5125  to make an appointment.

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