Enforcement of Financial Orders Solicitors Berkhamsted, Amersham & Beaconsfield
What are financial orders?
Financial Orders are orders made by a judge to deal with the financial provision and distribution of assets following a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
How can you obtain a financial order?
You can obtain a financial order, by agreeing your financial arrangements with your spouse or civil partner and formalising the terms in a legally binding financial Consent Order, by inviting the court to accept it. You can submit a financial consent order request to the court yourself, but a solicitor should draft it since the court needs it to have been drawn up in a particular way.
Alternatively, if you are unable to come to an agreement in relation to the financial arrangements, you can obtain a financial order by making an application to the court for a Financial Remedy Order. During these proceedings the court helps to decide and makes an order on the division of the assets and financial provision to be provided.
The court can make a financial order once it has issued your conditional order (formally decree nisi) in the divorce or dissolution of civil partnership. The financial order becomes effective once the court has issued your final order (formally decree absolute) in the divorce or dissolution of civil partnership.
How do you enforce a financial court order? What application/order form would I need to fill out?
If your ex-partner has breached the terms of your financial order and the terms have not been complied with, there are a range of enforcement options available. You can report the breach to the court using a D11 form application. Once the application has been completed and filed with the court and the court has agreed that there has been a breach, the court will ask you how you would like to enforce the order; if you are unsure, then you can defer to the court to decide on your behalf. How the court will enforce the order will depend on the nature of the provision that requires to be enforced. There are some examples below.
There may be a hearing in which the person who owes the money or hasn’t complied will come to court, produce documents requested by the court and answer some questions, and if they do not attend Court he/she could be sent to prison for contempt of court.
In such circumstances, it may be possible to apply for an attachment of earning order, that is an order that money from a person’s wages is paid direct from that person’s employer to the person who is owed the money. In other cases, it may be possible to seek an order putting a ‘freeze’ on the non-payer’s assets so that he/she cannot operate until they comply with their obligations. It may also be possible for interest to be claimed on maintenance arrears.
If, for example, you are owed a lump sum of money and your former partner owns a property, you can seek a Charge over the property (similar to a mortgage). This would mean that the money is paid to you when the property is sold if it is not paid by then; and/or, you can request the court that the property be sold and the proceeds are paid to you.
If, for instance, the family home was ordered to be sold and your ex-partner still living in the house is not cooperating with the sale, the court can allow you to deal with the sale on your own and order your former partner to leave the property. Where there is to be a transfer of the property to you and your ex-partner refuses to sign the conveyancing transfer documents to allow this to take effect, the court can sign the relevant documents on your ex-partner behalf.
It is not necessary to hire a solicitor to obtain an enforcement order; however, it is recommended since the forms and procedure can be complicated.
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