What next for “stepped” periodical payments orders? – Tanfield Chambers

Posted March 22nd, 2016 in appeals, divorce, education, financial provision, news, periodical payments by sally

‘The Court of Appeal recently decided a discreet argument regarding periodical payments orders in the case of Aburn v Aburn [2016] EWCA Civ 72. So, what are the implications for automatic variations in periodical payments? Practitioners and Judges alike will be familiar with the concept of stepped periodical payments. However, the commonplace order will be for periodical payments to be stepped downwards based upon either particular trigger events (such as children reaching their majority, a payment of a lump sum order) or after a specific period of time during which it is judged that the recipient of the periodical payments can, or ought to, have taken steps to increase their earning capacity. Given the commonplace nature of these orders, it is perhaps understandable that a deputy district judge (DDJ) presiding over the final hearing of the financial remedies application of Mrs Aburn (and then a Circuit Judge hearing the appeal thereafter) thought perhaps an order “stepping up” periodical payments upon a particular trigger event was a clever solution, thereby falling into what we now know was an error of law and an impermissible exercise of his judicial discretion. ‘

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Tanfield Chambers, 1st March 2016

Source: www.tanfieldchambers.co.uk