Introduction to the enforcement of financial orders
Financial settlements reached after a full hearing or by agreement of the parties are incorporated into a financial order of the court. Breach of a court order or an undertaking given to the court is contempt of court and potentially punishable by imprisonment. In most cases both parties comply with the terms of such orders given the seriousness of the obligations. However, where either party is unwilling or unable to comply with the order for practical reasons, or simply as a result of unwillingness to cooperate, there are two options available. The first is to seek a variation of the order by agreement or by order of the court [please see our guide to variation or capitalisation of financial orders ]. The second and perhaps more appropriate option where there is a lack of co-operation or a practical explanation for a failure to comply with the terms of the order, or the relevant party is outside of the jurisdiction, is to make use of the various remedies available for enforcement through the courts, either in England and Wales or abroad. For more details please see our guide to enforcement of financial orders.
How Vardags can help with the enforcement of financial orders
We have many years of experience in dealing with the enforcement of orders. We are frequently instructed to deal with the more complicated elements of enforcement of orders around the world and have developed an exceptional list of international contacts and agents to maximise the effectiveness of each and every enforcement exercise. We also, uniquely, benefit from an in-house financial and commercial team, headed by Dr Stephen Bence, that is able to provide our clients with advice on finding hidden assets, unpicking complicated financial structures; and understanding specialist remuneration schemes, so that we are able to locate assets and find means of enforcement. We have gone as far as obtaining a (rare) six month suspended prison sentence against a husband in breach of court orders and having a non-compliant husband’s passport seized so that he could not leave the jurisdiction.
Equally, if your ex-spouse or their solicitor has accused you of failing to comply with the terms of a financial order, then we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice immediately. We will give you expert advice on whether you are in breach of the order and, if so, what the consequences of this may be. If you have defaulted on a payment, interest may be payable and if enforcement proceedings are commenced you risk facing an order to pay the other side’s legal costs. Action will need to be taken to protect your position, including your liberty. Urgent advice should therefore be taken in each case.
The first step is to arrange a meeting with one of our solicitors. Therefore, please call us on 020 7404 9390 or email us to make an appointment to come and see us.