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Mills v Mills appeal in the Supreme Court

Judgment now awaited in this much anticipated appeal

This case relates to the proper approach to applications to vary periodical payments orders made pursuant to s.31(7) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 after the grant of a decree of divorce.

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, Mr Mills 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. Mrs Mills 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 granted permission to appeal on a 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."

The Supreme Court appeal hearing was heard last week - on 6  June 2018 and is available on the Supreme Court website here (the morning session) and here (the afternoon session).