Maintenance usually takes on the form of regular monthly payments made by one party (say the husband) to enable the wife to meet the needs of the child/children of the family. However, circumstances can change as time goes by and for certain reasons you may want to vary the court ordered maintenance for your child because it has become unfair to you. Changes in financial circumstances may mean that the original order has become dated and needs revisiting.
An application to vary the order must be made to court. The Court will make a variation to the child maintenance order if it is satisfied that it is reasonable to do so for the welfare of the child.
The various situations whereby one may want to vary the child maintenance order:
- Unemployment, Retirement, An Accident, Health Issues
If the income of one spouse decreases due to reasons like retirement, unemployment, redundancy, an accident, or deteriorating health condition, this could justify an application to court to vary the order.
- Rise In Wealth
On the other hand, if you are struggling to make ends meet and your former spouse is enjoying a very lavish lifestyle (perhaps due to a change of their financial circumstances over a period of time), this could also be a reason to vary the child maintenance order.
- Misrepresentation of Wealth
It is possible that your former spouse did not make full and frank disclosure of their wealth or income during the divorce. If you somehow come to discover that your former spouse had misrepresented their welath or income, and that they would in fact be able to contribute significantly towards the betterment of the child/children’s welfare, then this may be grounds to reassess the child maintenance order for the child’s sake.
The welfare of the children is paramount and it shall be the duty of a parent to maintain or contribute to the maintenance of the children to whom ever custody belongs to. No variation will be made if it adversely affects the quality of the children’s lives and deprives them of what they were accustomed to before the variation was made.
This article was written by Aileen Lau . Aileen heads the family law practice at Donovan & Ho. She has extensive experience in both contested and uncontested divorce proceedings, and has advised clients on family law matters ranging from child custody, adoption, payment of alimony and division of matrimonial property.
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