I'm not the only member having to cherry-pick from the various categories in an effort to put together information for a variation of spousal maintenance. Also, depending on the circumstances, the court has to look at the possibility of capitalising sm and thus a "variation" category would need a different and more considered approach from those peeps who answer our questions.
Of course, there are two sides to every story. In the red corner you have wives wanting more SM and in the blue corner there are men who want to reduce it or even cancel it.
I see no obvious reasons why variation applications should be expensive. The Court is only concerned with the issue of income and how it is distributed. Capital is relevant, but in most cases the Court can't re-allocate capital. As you say, the Court can capitalise a SM order.
I just can't see any obvious reason why in most cases a system of informal arbitration, similar to a small claims court, would not suffice.
Capitalisation, or the possibility of it, is a matter of concern to me as I have been paying SM for a long time. My age, and that of my ex, are now at the stage where I think that, if I took the plunge and applied for a discharge I would get one - but at a cost. If it were possible for me to know in advance what it would cost I can at least make an informed choice as to whether the cost is worth paying or whether it would be more sensible and less risky just to carry on paying the maintenance.
I did prepare a paper on the subject which I enclose for your information. I have long been on the view that the cost and uncertainty of outcome associated with variations is a deterrent.
A very frustrated LMM.
Attachment Wiki_Variations-179595c788bd7581235489703964a852.doc not found
the new google search facility is pretty powerfull if you search for variation vary "Consent Order" you get pretty much what would be in the forum category your suggesting. At the moment variation, consent order, maintenance pending and various other AR topics are held together in the Ancillary Relief category all of which are separate topics rightly in the AR category.