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What is a Segal order?

Segal order, the orders history and how they work.

Segal Order


A Segal Order avoids having to revisit court over Spousal Maintanance when the Child Support Agency subsequently makes an assessment. The point is that a judge may make an order for spouse and children, but that the court cannot prevent the wife from later making a claim from the CSA; since the CSA operates by a formula the result may be that the father ends up paying much more than he can afford. A Segal Order provides for an automatic variation of court ordered spousal maintance when the CSA makes a demand.

A Segal Order is named after the judge who invented it.

The Wording of a Segal Order

Here is typical wording of a Segal Order:

The Respondent do make periodical payments to the Petitioner at the rate of £xxx per calendar month payable monthly in advance from day-month-year until either the Petitioner remarries or the day-month-year whichever be the sooner, or further order of the Court, provided that if the Child Support Agency make an assessment for child support against the Respondent in respect of the children of the family, or any of them, then the sum of £xxx shall be reduced by the ammount of such assessment for that month.


It is described by Thorpe LJ in Dorney-Kingdom v Dorney-Kingdom [2000] 3 FCR 20 at 24: -

A practice has grown up, finding its origins before District Judge Segal in the Principal Registry, to make an order for spousal maintenance under s23(1)(a) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 that incorporates some of the costs of supporting the children as part of a global order. When a Segal order is made an important ingredient is that the overall sum will reduce pro tanto from the date upon which the Child Support Agency brings in an assessment. The utility of the Segal order is obvious, since in many cases the determination of the ancillary relief claims will come at a time when the Child Support Agency has yet to complete its assessment of liability. It is therefore very convenient for a district judge to have a form of order which will carry the parent with primary care over that interim pending the Agency's determination.

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