Q:My partner has won the lottery; can I apply to vary my court order?


In the event that your partner wins the lottery after a financial order has been made there may be limited scope for you to apply to the Court to vary capital provisions made within your order. Such provisions would include the payment of lump sums, the transfer of property and/or the division of pensions. This will depend upon how quickly the windfall follows the making of the order or whether for example your former spouse or partner failed to disclose the possibility of a windfall where it was reasonably foreseeable. In the event that substantial lottery winnings are received very shortly after the making of the original order it would be sensible to obtain legal advice in relation to applying for a variation of capital provisions.

However, more certainly the Court will have very wide ranging powers to vary any maintenance orders that have been made in these circumstances. Therefore where your former spouse or partner benefits from a lottery win, which significantly improves their financial resources, you should consider applying for an upward variation of your existing spousal and child maintenance orders. This is due not only to the fact that your former spouse or partner’s financial position has changed so dramatically that the nature of the order has fundamentally changed, but also because the lottery winnings were not reasonably foreseeable at the date the original order was made and were therefore not taken into account.

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