Q:I have lost my job and cannot afford to comply with the maintenance provisions in my Court order; can I vary them?


In the event that you lose your job and are unable to keep up with child or spousal maintenance payments, the first port of call should be to try and agree a reduction of your maintenance payments with your former partner or spouse or via your solicitors. If this cannot be agreed, you will be able to apply to the Court for a downward variation of spousal or child maintenance or both as a result of your reduced income.

Your success in applying for such a downward variation will depend upon the likelihood of you securing alternative employment, how quickly this can be secured and whether or not you are likely to be able to earn at the same level as previously. In the event that this is not considered imminent or likely and you do not have adequate savings to draw upon to cover your maintenance payments in the interim, the Court would be likely to order a downward variation of maintenance. However, if you later secure alternative employment your former spouse or partner will then be able to apply for a subsequent upward variation to reinstate maintenance or perhaps even increase it if you start earning more.

Vardags is a top family law firm that specialises in complex cases often involving an international element. If you cannot find answers to your questions here, please consult our ‘family law guide‘ for further information, call us on 0207 717 9979  or email