Can I Change The Asset Split After Divorce..?

10 August, 2015

I see there was another attempt recently to re-write a divorce financial settlement. The case of Mr and Mrs Birch went to the Court of Appeal in July 2015.

In their divorce settlement agreed in the summer of 2010 Mrs Birch had promised her husband she would sell the family home if she wasn’t able to have the mortgage transferred into her sole name by the end of September 2012. When it proved impossible for her to meet that deadline, she applied to the court for an extension of the deadline until the youngest child of the family reached the age of 18.

The district judge refused Mrs Birch’s application as did the circuit judge. The Court of Appeal thought about it but concluded, perhaps not surprisingly, that it too would hold Mrs Birch to the original deal. In making their decision they repeated what has become a pretty hard and fast rule. Whilst monthly maintenance payments can be always be varied, the asset split should be should not be changed unless something happens which “…invalidates the basis or fundamental assumption upon which the order was made”. This was not one of those cases!

Many have tried to buck this rule, but very very few have so far succeeded.