(Family Division, Coleridge J, 23 April 2013)
The husband and wife were married for 16 years and had three children together, two of which were over 18 and the youngest was 12. Since separating both parties had formed new relationships.
In financial remedy proceedings the wife was awarded periodical payments of €7,250 per month plus 35% of the husband's net bonus to the extent that her overall maintenance entitlement did not exceed €192,000 per annum. In addition the husband was to pay child maintenance of €1000 per month plus school fees and tertiary education fees. No appeal was brought but 4 months later the husband sought to vary the order. The wife sought to strike out the application on the basis that it had no chance of success. The application was struck out and the husband appealed.
The husband claimed that the wife was earning significantly more than she disclosed in the original proceedings and that if a full investigation took place the court would be driven to the conclusion that a downwards variation of the order was required. The husband relied on the fact that the wife was able to relieve him of his mortgage obligation on the matrimonial property which was €1.5m which would necessitate a high income level.
The appeal was dismissed. It was impossible for the husband to succeed in establishing that the judge was plainly wrong in finding that no useful purpose would be served by re-opening the matter. The judge was perfectly entitled, having looked at the matter carefully, to come to the conclusion that to allow an application to vary, to go ahead, issued only 4 months after the original order, was one which was fraught with difficulties so far as the husband was concerned and, as it were, almost in his own interests, and certainly in the parties' interests, it should not be allowed to proceed.