Variation of financial orders
Variation of financial orders

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Variation of financial orders
  • Procedure
  • Approach of the court
  • Orders that can be varied
  • Orders that cannot be varied
  • Powers of the court on an application to vary
  • Variation by agreement

By virtue of section 31 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973), and the corresponding provisions in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004), the court has the power to vary or discharge certain orders for financial relief, see: Orders that can be varied and Orders that cannot be varied. More rarely the court may suspend an order, or revive a suspended provision. This Practice Note sets out the general provisions that apply to an application to vary. For further practical guidance on specific types of financial orders see Practice Notes:

  1. General principles for maintenance pending suit—Variation and refunds

  2. Periodical payments—variation of orders, Periodical payments—variation—procedure, and Capitalised maintenance on variation

  3. General principles—lump sum orders—Variation

  4. Trusts—variation of a nuptial settlement

  5. Pensions on divorce etc—variation and appeals


Changes to the procedure on an application for variation of a financial remedy order came into effect on 22 April 2014. The Family Procedure (Amendment No 3) Rules 2013, SI 2013/3204 amended the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 9, Ch 5 (SI 2010/2955, 9.18–9.21A), so that the accelerated (or shortened) financial remedy procedure applied to a variation application. That remains the position where the application was issued prior to 4 June 2018, however for applications issued on or after 4 June 2018, the Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2018, SI 2018/440 further amended FPR 2010, introducing new

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