‘Out of time’ maintenance appeal dismissed.

Divorce|June 19th 2017

A father’s attempt to appeal the award of a payment to his ex-wife has been dismissed by the Family Court.

The case concerned a ‘lump sum deduction order’ (LSDO) relating to child maintenance arrears. Such orders are instructions to the person’s bank or building society to deduct a sum of money, which is then paid to their ex-partner via the government. The amount in question was not specified in the judgement.

The father, ‘AH’, appealed the LSDO but did so ‘out of time’ – beyond the legal deadline. The order was made in April last year but his appeal did not reach court until January of this year. He appeared in person but could not offer the court any explanation for filing his appeal late, either in his written filing or when asked in court, saying only that he could not remember . Naturally his ex-wife opposed the application, on the grounds that it had been filed too late.

At the East London Family Court Her Honour Judge Redgrave explained that:

“The appellant has made no formal application to extend the time for issuing his appeal and in addition failed to serve a copy of the Notice of Appeal on the respondent [his ex-partner] within the 21 day period as required by the rules. The Notice of Appeal was not received by the respondent until the appellant provided his documents for inclusion in the court bundle [case papers] shortly before this hearing, several months after the time limit had expired.”

The Judge noted that the strict time limits which apply given the importance of providing financial support for growing children. This was a “legitimate aim” she said.

The father had been involved in a previous LSDO and had received clear instructions on the time limits which applied.

Read AH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions here.

Image by Vera via Flickr

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