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Harris
Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My ex-husband and I have a court order to cover payments for

Customer Question

Hi, my ex-husband and I have a court order to cover payments for the children. This now covers the 2 who are at university and live with me. However, my ex-husband has stopped paying anything to me (as stated in the court order) and pays to the girls directly (fine by me, in fact). He has alternated between paying nothing at all, and paying £40 per week during term time only, when the order states he must pay £200 per child (this was raised to £225 on an informal basis), and should be paid each month until such time as they finish their first degree at university.
During the last 2 years, my husband managed to sign off sick, during which time he set up a new business, and then sold shares in his former company and left their employment. He argues that he is without earnings, and unable to pay. He has not dealt with this in the official way, but simply stopped paying. I have used a local solicitor to request payment but have been unsuccessful in retrieving the outstanding amounts. He simply continues to pay only when the girls are away at university, and nothing extra. I have managed to pay for them to learn to drive, to provide them with a a car and insured this, along with all other added expenses of going to Uni plus the costs of living at home.
I would like to pursue him now for the outstanding amount plus regular payments to be reinstated. How can I go about doing this without the huge costs of using a solicitor (2 letters cost me £350 earlier this year).
Many thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.

Hi, thank you for your question. Firstly you should add up the arrears and write to him with a final demand to settle arrears and to comply with the court order. If he fails to do this you should apply to court to enforce the order and seek thr arrears. This can be done using form D50K and a £155 court fee. If his non-compliance is unreasonable the court can also order a costs order to pay your legal fees on conclusion but there is no guarantee that the couet will make a costs order.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. What would be deemed as unreasonable non-compliance? He tells his children he has no income but now employs his new wife at the new company and is talking about taking on a third person. I know he has received orders for his product, but demonstrating on paper that he takes no earnings may be simple for him. Is the court likely to just accept his "excuse" and leave the situation as it is?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.

The court would not agree to leave it as it is and it may be the case that he would seek to apply to vary the maintenance if his financial circumstances have drastically changed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is unreasonable non-compliance? Is recent lack of earnings an excuse when he sold shares in his company? Will the order still stand for him to support his own children until the finish university? What changes can he make and how does he, and does he need to prove his lack of earnings? Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My view is that his financial position altered by choice, as he set up a new company. I'm not unreasonable and can understand that in the early stages it has been difficult but he is now in a better position to repay what is outstanding amd to continue to pay according to the order. Is that fair?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.

Unreasonable non-compliance, as an example, would be if he just unilaterally stopped paying without any reason. If his income has only just changed and he has had no time to formally apply to vary the order then that would be reasonable. In any event, he would continue to be liable for the amounts until a formal variation order is made and the court will need full disclosure of his change of financial position and financial documents. There will therefore be liability for any arrears he has accumulated.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. This has been going on for over 12 months and i believe he has been told in a letter from my solicitor that he should apply to the courts if he wishes to change the order, so perhaps somewhat unreasonable. I find it unreasonable that he feels he doesn't need to pay when his daughters are at home - and only pay a percentage when they are at university. They are scared to ask him for help these days and he has to be reminded each amd every month as refuses to set up a regular payment with his bank.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.

He is liable to pay what is stated in the order until a court varies it and is not his decision whether he should pay less or not.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great - thank you for your help. I shall take this further.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.

No worries, I hope it goes well. If you have any questions in the future you can ask for me directly by starting your question For Harris

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Harris. Does this session end automatically and stop charging me?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.

You should not be charged further unless you have signed up for the monthly payment scheme