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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I got a court order from the family court in Holborn 5 years ago for m

Customer Question

I got a court order from the family court in Holborn 5 years ago for my former husband to pay maintenance. In May he started paying a reduced amount, told me he was seeking mediation and I have received a letter from a mediator inviting me to mediation. I have emailed him three times asking what he wants to achieve from the mediation process but have received no reply. The mediation is going to cost me around £700-800 and at the moment I don't know what he wants to achieve from the process. I guess he wants to pay less but I don't know how much. I understand I can apply to the court to enforce the court order. Would not going to mediation stand against me if I did? The amount he has not paid me is around the equivalent of his mediation costs, and I feel he has nothing to loose from going to mediation because I am, in effect, paying his mediation costs. I am also concerned that if I did attend mediation and agree a reduced amount there is nothing to stop him repeating the process again
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
is this child or spouse maintenance?
How much is he paying and how much should he be paying?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Spouse. The child element ended in May this year when the youngest child left school. He is paying £1000 and should be paying £1127.01

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Are you aware of any change in his circumstances - and is there any reason why you do not wish to take enforcement action at this time?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He has retired from the Police service. The judge took this into account when she made the order. The maintenance should continue for another 6 years until I am 60 and the money from the pension split takes over from the maintenance.

I want to know if an enforcement order is the best course of action. Would the judge insist I go to mediation, as my former husband clearly wants to reduce the payments? The situation is that the mediation is not costing him anything as he has reduced the payments to about the cost of the mediation. If I just go along to mediation then there is nothing to stop him doing this again next year, because he can only gain from this process. If I take enforcement action to get the arrears paid, then I would be prepared to go to mediation after that. I would agree to the maintenance being reduced to what he is currently paying. My concern is that if the judge would insist on mediation before enforcing the court order, then there is no point in trying to enforce the order. However, if I don't enforce the order, my former husband would just do this again and again.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Your ex has to pay the existing Order unless and until a downward variation is ordered by the court. If you do not wish to attend mediation then you cannot be forced to do so and your ex's only option is to make an application to the court.
I suggest that you write to him and say that if he lets you know what the basis of his application would be then you will consider it. but otherwise you will apply to the court to enforce the order.
The options for enforcement are set out here
(do NOT apply to register the matter in the Magistrates Court)
You will not be forced to go to mediation before enforcement action is taken
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details