My Ex Is Being Unreasonable! How Do I Enforce A Court Order?9th Aug 2017
What If They Refuse To Agree Reasonable Financial Arrangements?
Separating couples wrongly assume that getting divorced and dividing up the finances are the same thing. They are not.
They are agreed separately and the court makes one or more orders.
But what if you suggest a reasonable financial arrangement and your former partner refuses? What if they’re being greedy? Or just plain awkward for the sake of it?
Let’s look at the ways your former partner could try to throw a spanner in the works…
Court Hearings To Resolve Your Finances
Resolving finances can take up to six to eight months because the courts are busy. That’s already far too long so the last thing you need is stalling from your former partner.
Agreeing financial arrangements involves three court hearings:
- First hearing – at this point you should both have fully disclosed all your finances. But what if your former partner has failed to do so? What if they’ve tried to hide assets? Get expert advice on this here.
- Second hearing – this is a dispute resolution hearing – but what if they refuse to attend?
- Third hearing – this is when the court makes its decision, but again, what if your former partner fails to attend?
Quite simply, your former partner (and you for that matter) must do what the court says.
If they fail to comply with any court directions you can apply for a Penal Notice that requests your former partner to take a particular action. You or your solicitor can get a process server to serve them with this notice.
Penal Notices, Contempt Of Court And Arrest
A Penal Notice gives the person served a fixed period of time to comply with any court directions or orders made.
If they then fail to comply this can be viewed as contempt of court and the court can – in certain circumstances – commit them to prison.
You can apply for costs if your former partner has failed to comply with court orders and you have incurred extra expenses as a result.
And there’s more. This is the really big stick…
If your former partner fails to engage with the process then the court can simply proceed without them – and make an ‘adverse’ order that they won’t like.
Such as giving you 60 per cent of the house or more instead of the starting point of 50 per cent.
Why? Judges are busy – they don’t have time to mess around with people who can’t be bothered to appear in court.
If your former partner wants to cut off their nose to spite their face then so be it – your case will proceed without them.
For more information contact Coles Miller Partner Richard Perrins, Head of our Family Law Department, 01202 355698.