Coronavirus lockdown means that the personal finances of many people are now very different to what they were at the time of entering into their divorce settlement.

Covid-19 has already had a significant impact on job losses, wage and salary cuts as well as reductions in share prices and pension funds.

Pressure on recently divorced couples may also be exasperated if Orders provide for transfer / remortgage or sale of a property.

Those recently divorced couples are now asking, at the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, whether this  justifies the re-opening of a Court Order.

It is our belief that the following Orders can be varied or re-opened.

  • Maintenance Pending Suit.
  • Periodical Payments and secured Periodical Payments.
  • Lump Sum by installments.
  • Provision for children.
  • Deferred Lump Sums.
  • Settlement Orders.
  • Sale of properties.
  • Pension Sharing Orders.

Covid-19 is a completely unprecedented pandemic and different to the global financial crisis of 2008.  Whilst every particular case will depend on it’s own individual facts, there will be financial consequences of the pandemic for some families which may fit squarely with the Courts principles of re-visiting such Orders.

So where do you stand if you need to challenge a previous agreement?

If one party is not in agreement to vary by consent, they can

  1. to enforce make an application to ask the Court to make an Order in the terms of the agreement.  This type of application is called “a notice to show cause why the other party shall not be held to the terms of the agreement”. A change in circumstances is one of the grounds that can be used to defend such an application.
  2.  to vary make application to set aside or vary an original agreement.  Again, the change must be unforeseen and must undermine the basis of the agreement reached. Both applications should be made promptly.

If you have any concerns, please speak to one of our specialist caseworkers. Contact one of our offices at Boston, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding, Newark or Grantham. Email or call 0333 580393.

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