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Disqualification from driving for not paying a debt to a former spouse?

Ok, so you've been to Court (and quite possibly to Hell and back too) and you've got an Order from the Court. Perhaps, it was a Matrimonial Order following a divorce and an order has been made to put the former family home on the market. Or maybe it was a dispute with your former partner and they have been ordered to pay you a lump sum. But now, your ex-partner won't play ball and put that house on the market, or pay the lump sum - what should you do next?

Fortunately there are enforcement rules that a party can use to ensure compliance. Unfortunately the current rules regarding enforcement are complex.

In December 2016, the Law Commission published The Enforcement of Family Financial Orders report.

The Commission has highlighted some specific areas for improvement. It now recommends some keys changes with the intention of de-mystifying some of the complexity that surrounds the enforcement rules and making the complex simple. These include:

More guidance for parties when the order is made by including information to be printed on the back of Family Financial Orders, along with a guide to enforcement;

  • A requirement for the party not complying with the order to provide early disclosure of their financial circumstances;
  • Giving the Court more power to obtain information about the errant ex-partner's finances from third parties and ability to make "coercive orders" against people who have the ability to pay but refuse to - such as disqualifying them from driving until the debt is paid;
  • Extending current methods of enforcement against other assets such as pensions, or money in joint accounts.

It is hoped that the recommendations will create a more effective enforcement system which ensures that both a creditor and a debtor are treated fairly.

If these recommendations are adopted, the consequences of failure to adhere to the terms of a Family Financial Order will become more far reaching. Imagine being banned from driving, in effect, because of an outstanding dispute with a former partner.

This article was written by Rachel Spencer-Robb. Rachel is Head of our Family Law Department and is based in Ilkley.

Rachel is nationally recognised as an expert in her field by independent legal guide Chambers and Partners for the last four consecutive years.

Most recently Chambers UK (2017) stated : Rachel Spencer Robb leads the family law team at LCF Law and "works hard to deliver practical solutions for her clients." Sources consistently emphasise her skills in collaborative proceedings, particularly in relation to divorces. Peers commend her as "articulate and persuasive in meetings; she's a good listener."

For further advice please contact Rachel Spencer-Robb on 01943 885 790 or ku.oc1720860799.fcl@1720860799bborr1720860799ecnep1720860799sr1720860799

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