Berkeley Lifford Hall Accountancy ServicesAlphabiolabsHousing Law WeekIQ Legal Training

Supreme Court to consider applications to vary periodical payments orders under MCA s31(7)

Permission given to husband to appeal by Mills v Mills

The Supreme Court has granted permission to the husband to appeal in the case of Mills v Mills. The case received much attention in the mainstream press in February when the Court of Appeal allowed the wife's appeal against a refusal to increase the husband's monthly maintenance payments to her (whom he divorced over 15 years ago) from £1,100 per month to £1,441 per month to meet her basic needs.

Following their divorce in 2002, the parties' financial claims were settled by a consent order which, amongst other things, provided the wife with a capital sum and required the husband to make periodical payments to the wife of £1,199 pcm. In 2014, the "husband" (as he has been described throughout these proceedings) applied to discharge the periodical payments order or, in the alternative, for a downward adjustment. His case was that the wife (i) had lost the capital she had been awarded in 2002 through gross financial mismanagement and (ii) was in a position to work more in order to increase her earnings. The wife sought an upward variation of the periodical payments on the basis that she was unable to meet her basic needs. The judge held that the order should continue without any variation. The Court of Appeal allowed the wife's appeal.

The Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal on the single ground: whether, provision having already been made for the Respondent's housing costs in the capital settlement, the Court of Appeal erred in taking these into account when raising her periodical payments. A hearing on this matter will be scheduled in due course.

For an article by Amy Scollan of Hunters Solicitors, written shortly after the appeal decision, click here.