Case details

Mills (Appellant) v Mills (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0040

Case summary


The proper approach to applications to vary periodical payments orders made pursuant to s.31(7) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 after the grant of a decree of divorce and in particular whether, provision having already been made for the wife’s housing costs in the capital settlement in the original consent order of 2002, the Court of Appeal were wrong in taking these into account when increasing the wife’s periodical payments under the joint lives spousal maintenance provision contained in 2002 order.


Following their divorce in 2002, the parties’ financial claims were settled by a consent order which, amongst other things, provided the wife with a capital sum and required the husband to pay spousal periodical payments for the wife of £1,100 pcm for joint lives.

In 2014, the husband applied to discharge the periodical payments order or, in the alternative, reduce the payments due thereunder. His case was that the circumstances pertaining in 2002 had changed in that the wife (i) had lost the capital she had been awarded in 2002 through gross financial mismanagement and (ii) was now in a position to work (or work more) in order to increase her earnings. The wife made a cross-application for an increase in her periodical payments on the basis that she was unable to meet her basic needs. The judge held that the order should continue at the current rate without any variation. The Court of Appeal allowed the wife’s appeal and increased the maintenance payable by £341 pcm to £1,441pcm.

The Supreme Court granted permission to appeal in August 2017, on one single ground detailed above.



Graham Owen Mills


Maria Louise Mills



Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes, Lord Hodge

Hearing start date

06 Jun 2018

Hearing finish date

06 Jun 2018

Watch hearing
06 Jun 2018 Morning session Afternoon session