New laws getting tough on divorce payments.

New laws getting tough on divorce payments.

The Law is reacting to calls to tighten sanctions for those foregoing divorce payments.

New laws could see travelling bans imposed for these ex-husbands and wives trying to avoid paying divorce settlements.

The proposals have been put forward by the Law Commission who are advisors to the government on reforms and believe that stronger sanctions are needed.

The new proposal is to introduce a ‘family financial order’, this will include details of the maintenance payments, restrictions, such as driving, are already available to the courts for those that withhold payments for child maintenance, the commission had discussed the possibility of curfews but felt it was a step too far, and feel the new measures will encourage compliance.

The refusal to comply with maintenance orders is a significant problem, with over 4000 enforcement actions carried out each year; non-receipt of payments can have a devastating effect on families, with problems such as missed rent payments, utilities or problems meeting payments for essentials.

This area of law is very complex and it is estimated that more than £15m in payments each year are unfulfilled.

If payments are stopped, court action can follow with a possible custodial sentence for the ex-spouse, but this is very rare, as a judge needs special circumstances under common law to pass such a judgement.

With such difficulties it is hoped that the Ministry of Justice will put forward the new legislation.

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