Enforcement of financial orders considered

Family Law|March 11th 2015

The Law Commission has published a consultation paper seeking views on the enforcement of financial orders.

Such orders are issued by the family courts when separating couples are unable to reach agreement amongst themselves or when parties seek an enforceable order. They are usually designed to meet the reasonable needs of both parties and maintain their living standards wherever possible.

However, enforcement is currently complex and difficult and the Law Commission now wishes to explore ways to make the process more efficient and to more effectively exert pressure on those in breach of financial orders. Suggested reforms include the provision of better information on the financial situation of the non-payer, both to the courts and to their former partners. This would, the Commission suggests, make it easier to find a solution to their failure to pay.

Law Commissioner and Professor Elizabeth Cooke said:

“When the courts cannot enforce family financial orders, it can lead to real hardship for former partners and children and place a huge burden on the state. We need to understand whether existing mechanisms for enforcement are working as well as they might.”

The Law Commission is a statutory body established to review laws and recommend reform.

Read the consultation paper here.

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  1. Andrew says:

    I see no sign of any understanding that maintenance debtors are often multiple debtors and any tightening of procedures must be fair to all creditors.

    If arrears are made provable in bankruptcy they should also be discharged by bankruptcy. The same should apply to lump sum orders which remain in force after the bankrupt is discharged, which is incompatible with the clean start which bankruptcy is supposed to provide.

  2. Andrew says:

    In fact lump sums orders should be discharged by bankruptcy but should be postponed for dividend until the outside creditors have been paid in full. Marriage is, after all, said to be a partnership and when a partnership is bust the outside creditors have the first claim on the assets.

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