The Court was asked: ‘In circumstances in which at the time of a divorce a spouse, say a wife, is awarded capital which enables her to purchase a home but later she exhausts the capital by entry into a series of unwise transactions and so develops a need to pay rent, is the court entitled to decline to increase the order for the husband to make periodical payments to her so as to fund payment of all (or perhaps even any) of her rent even if he could afford to do so?’ On their divorce, the parties agreed a consent order involving capital and maintenance payments. They anticipated that the capital would buy a house, but W also obtained a mortgage, and now sought an increase in the maintenance payments to allow her to make the payments. The judge refused her application saying that it was a choice she had made. The Court of Appeal allowed her appeal, and H appealed now in turn.
Held: The Court of Appeal had erred. The judge had given proper reasons, and had made a decision properly within his discretion.
Lady Hale, President, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes, Lord Hodge
 UKSC 38, UKSC 2017/0040
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Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 31(1)
England and Wales
At CA – M v M CA 1-Feb-2017
Cited – Pearce v Pearce CA 28-Jul-2003
The financial claims on divorce had been settled by a compromise recorded in a court order. The order included periodical payments to the former wife. After she suffered financial losses, she sought an increase, and the former husband sought an . .
Cited – North v North CA 25-Jul-2007
The husband appealed a consent order for payment of pounds 202,000 to commute a varied nominal maintenance order. The original order had been made many years before. In the meantime, the former husband had grown wealthy, and she had suffered . .
Cited – Yates v Yates CA 28-Mar-2012
Under a consent order the wife had received a substantial lump sum on the basis that she would use half of it in discharging a mortgage on her home. In the event she had repaid only part of the mortgage debt and had invested in a non-income-bearing . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 31 July 2021; Ref: scu.620137