You wish to revise or change certain terms in the existing court order to reflect new developments in your life after divorce. This can be done by way of an application by summons to vary a court order. Typically, clients seek to change the terms in their existing court order in these scenarios: –
Section 72 of the Women’s Charter provides that an Order for maintenance may be rescinded or varied in the following circumstances :-
The court will also take into consideration any change in the general cost of living.
Section 128 of the Women’s Charter provides that an Order pertaining to custody, care and control of the children may be rescinded or varied: –
In all cases, the court retains discretion to make orders on custody, care and control of the children in view of what is in the best interests of the child.
Section 112(4) of the Women’s Charter provides that the court may vary any order relating to the division of matrimonial assets and exercise its discretion where the order might be unworkable ab initio (i.e. from the start) or unworkable as a result of new circumstances (AYM v AYL  1 SLR 924). The court exercises its discretion under this broadly-worded provision in accordance with the following principles:
(a) Once an Order of Court has been fully implemented, the court generally does not have power to revisit or re-open the order, save where there is fraud;
(b) The court will vary an order for the division of matrimonial assets where the order is unworkable ab initio or has become unworkable as a result of new circumstances; and
(c) An order might be unworkable ab initio due to a lack of functionality of the order, or as a result of a fundamental misunderstanding at the time the order was made.
You may wish to discuss the possibility of varying your existing court order if you find yourself in the following situations:
There may be other circumstances which you may wish to discuss with your family lawyer.
While uncontested summons for variation takes about four (4) months to negotiate a settlement and complete, contested variation proceedings takes between six (6) to nine (9) to complete.
It is prudent to apply to lower or increase the maintenance for the child or spouse as soon as material changes happen after divorce. However, this may not work all the time especially when ex-spouse has moved on with their lives or both of you have already ceased contact with each other. For paying ex-spouses, rather than waiting for the ex-spouse to commence enforcement proceedings or committal proceedings against you for non-payment or breach of court order which is costly and may attract other financial penalties, you may wish to discuss your legal options to start the variation/recission proceedings to protect yourself against other unnecessary legal battles with an ex-spouse. For receiving ex-spouse who receives spousal maintenance and child maintenance, it is crucial that you make timely application for variation to receive appropriate amount of maintenance that you and your child needs.
Yeo & Associates LLC Family Lawyers have handled different types of Summons hearing based on our clients’ scenarios. Talk to us now at 62203400 to discuss your options.