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8 months after divorce, and ExH refusing to stick to Court Ordered maintenance

8 replies

SunshineHQ · 13/01/2018 14:45

Abusive Ex (well paid >£110,000) is meant to be paying £600/month Spousal and £950/month Child Maintenance. Child maintenance is fixed for first 12 months, then CMS formula.

He was a nightmare to get divorced from, with full Court Process needed for both Contact and Finances.

Final Hearing on on Finances was avoided at 11th hour, when Ex finally made a reasonable proposal, which I accepted. So, the Court Order is all based on his proposal that he proposed. (If this is relevant.)

He is now not paying what it says, but only a deficit of £100/month. So it is less than 10% of a shortfall, but this will definitely be the "start of what's to come".

The Child Maintenance will be due to increase in June, after the first 12 months of the fixed amount. He has had two pay rises and the current figure is what the CMS calculator said 2 years ago.

I don't quite know what to do. We are £100/month short at the moment, but I expect the shortfall will increase to over £200/month from June.

Any thoughts or similar experience?

OP posts:
Secretsout · 13/01/2018 15:25

I’m in the same position sunshine only mine won’t even make the first payment!

I posted on here last night to get advice on what forms I need to fill in and where to send it to get it enforced.

My Ex was also a nightmare and still cannot behave like a responsible adult. I guess that’s the narc in him. I’m down over £2000 per month by him not paying.

When I figure out how to enforce it I’m also applying for Attachment of Earnings so I don’t have this every month.

FredaNerkk · 13/01/2018 15:35

[I'm assuming you are in England]
I'm not a family solicitor, but I was in a similar situation to you and was also very sick of paying solicitor's bills just to get my exH to be reasonable and follow the law. So I tried to sort it out myself.

It seemed from my research that there are ways to enforce maintenance through the Family Court, but these sounded long-winded and slow.

It also seemed possible - although potentially open to legal argument - to use the On-Line Money Claims process. This ultimately worked for me. It was pretty quick and effective; and it's not too complicated because the government publishes all the forms and Guidance Notes on their webpages. Google it.

Secretsout · 13/01/2018 20:44

freda how long did it take through moneyclaims? And what were the charges?

MrsMummy500 · 13/01/2018 23:19

You need to make a third party debt order and perhaps even an order to ensure that the maintenance is taken at source from his employers. They'll enforce this but you won't get costs other than court costs and about £100 after that.

FredaNerkk · 14/01/2018 13:23

By the way, as I said in my earlier p, I'm not a lawyer - the notes below are just some tips from having been through the process myself. Picking up knowledge along the way. Like you guys, I also divorced a wealthy narc who squirmed at every opportunity to get out of paying CSA payments and spousal maintenance. The legal system is pretty blunt against these kinds, but I found a few routes that can help.

So... On-Line Money Claims is a UK thing. The Guidance Notes explain the system from both perspectives - person who owes, and person who is claiming. The system is cheap - it costs approximately £100 to make the initial claim (depending on how much is owed), and this is added automatically to the debt claim. You can also claim interest - but be careful that you don't over claim interest (you wouldn't want this to wreck your claim).

The system can be very quick. (Or like other legal systems it can drag on). The reason it can be quick is that if you make a claim, the other side has 14 days to say whether they are contesting the debt. If they do then they have another 14 days to put in a statement of their defence. (I think that was the period - anyway it was a precise number of days and not very long).
After each side puts in their paper work. This is really simple. Just a box of text, or if you think you need more space, you can write a couple of pages and send these yourself to exH and court titled "Further particulars". For example if you want the paperwork to include a copy of your Court Order then you would send this as "further particulars". Or if you want to include a copy of account statements that help prove that he hasn't given you what is owed. Given the time periods for each side, the paperwork takes between 1 to 1.5 months. After that, the court can decide the matter based "on the papers". This is why this system can be a way quicker than the family court. A decision on the papers takes approx 1 month. So the system can be as quick as 2-3 months. If the decision maker thinks they need to hear both sides in person, they can set a hearing date.

If the court 'enters judgement for the debt' against the debtor (based on the papers or after a hearing), then this decision is listed on their credit record and affects their credit rating (it creates problems for credit cards, changing mortgage, store cards, tenancy agreements). These are powerful reasons for exHs to pay up owed maintenance.

The reason the system seems to work in the case of court-ordered spousal maintenance is that it's pretty clear that the person owed spousal maintenance will win if they contest it because they have a clear written Court Order in their favour - so hopefully the exH rolls over at this stage. A carefully worded business like email (not part of the court documents - just a polite "heads up") to point out the likely consequences of failing to pay the amount requested is helpful.

(Note: with this system you can't claim the money that has not yet fallen due. You can only claim the spousal maintenance that has already fallen due and which has not been paid. This means that you may have to bring a claim periodically. I used to enter claims every three months or so. I found that after one or two rounds - exH realised that he would have to pay. It had the required deterrent effect.

If you did have to go to a hearing - I got the impression that the hearing was the sort of thing that a person would represent themselves at. Wouldn't need a lawyer. [But my situation didn't go to hearing - he paid].

A limitation of the system is that if exH doesn't pay after judgement is entered then you have to take further steps to enforce. You can apply for an attachment of earnings, or apply for bailiffs to collect 'non-essential' possessions, or if you know one of their bank account numbers, you can apply to freeze the account. These are simple enough to do without a lawyer. The government webpages explain the steps and the forms that you need. But there are additional costs and additional delay. Bailiffs can be expensive, and possibly not successful if they don't own (in a single name) high enough value non-essential things in their house.

The system I found to work well was:

  1. draw up a document with two columns: what was owed at certain dates, and what was paid at certain dates. At the bottom of the columns you can then see,how much is owing even if exH has been paying in part, or has been paying on ad hoc dates. This document is great because you can easily update it, and at any particular point in time, you can say how much is owing. When i first started using this system I used to look at the bottom line every 3 months, and send an email saying that overall you have still under paid X amount. I also found that each time the payments were supposed to increase, (e.g. with court-ordered inflation every 12 months) he would drag his feet. So I used this process at least every year.
  2. When an amount of unpaid money has accrued, send exH an email saying that as attached document shows you have not paid all the court-ordered spousal maintenance. This email should be the sort of email which you could show a court if necessary. Short, and business like. To the effect of : Between X date and X date, Z remains unpaid. If this is not paid by Y date, then you intend to enforce the debt plus interest and will not necessarily be giving further notice before bringing proceedings. He should note that if a debt is enforced by a court, it will go on his record for years and can have serious consequences. (You leave it vague about which record and what consequences - some exH's will assume it is some sort of criminal record; actually it is the credit record).
  3. if he doesn't pay by the date in your letter, you then fill in the On-Line Money claim form. On the form you say that as per a Court Order made on such and such date, he must pay X amount on the x date of each month. Between Y date and Y date, B amount was unpaid. Written requests for payment were ignored. And you tick the box that says you are claiming interest at the standard court-rate and you list the date for payment that was in your letter. The on-line system calculates the amount.
  4. you pay the fee, lodge the form on-line and sit back and wait. Fingers crossed.
  5. the on-line system sends the documents to him based on the address you entered for him (make sure this correct).

    One reason I found this system was better than the Family Court system was that my exH didn't have a steady income in the UK so I couldn't get an attachment of earnings. He earnt his money abroad, but still had a life in the UK when he saw the children (so credit rating was still important). If he had had a regular salaried UK job, it might have been simpler to go through the Family Court system for enforcing the spousal maintenance order using an Attachment of Earnings.

    Good luck folks!
SunshineHQ · 14/01/2018 14:09

Freda, thank you so much for this. Really helpful.

OP posts:
Secretsout · 16/01/2018 13:02

sunshine I have today dropped off Form D50K and Form FE15 to the court.

DK50 is for the court to enforce the order and FE15 is Attachment of Earnings. I hope the judge applies this as the method of enforcement in the future. That way I will not have to deal with the abusive controlling twat on a monthly basis!

SunshineHQ · 16/01/2018 21:56

Thank you for the update.

I stupidly didn't do a name change, and I don't want ExH to do a search on my Username, so I'm going to hide this thread. Just wanted to explain.

OP posts:
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