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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34886
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 have a UK consent order (2012) maintenance payable

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I have a UK consent order (2012) for child maintenance payable by my exhusband to my account in Ireland every month. We were divorced in UK. In Sept 2013 he decided to deduct half monthly maintenance to pay our daugthers rent direct to the landlord. He has never paid the annual increase due and deducts half his bank charges from the maintenance. I made an application to the central unit for maintenance recovery in Dublin who in turn made an application to the equivalent in London to enforce my maintenance order. I now have a hearing date in July and am told I am not required to attend. However I am concerned my ex husband may make arguments to defend his non payment that I will not be present to refute. Whilst I understand I have representation there, I don't think I have any contact with them in advance and they simply rely on my consent order. Do you know if this is a hearing to simply enforce the consent order or will arguments be heard? Can it be varied? Whilst I am aware he has spent the money on our daugther, it is for me to decide how it is used. He is in breach. Is it likely that he will be directed to repay all outstanding as it is his own business if he pays the rent and it should not affect my maintenance? The maintenance was used to maintain a home for our daughter which is more of a struggle now. Thanks in advance.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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This is only about enforcing the Order - if cannot be changed unless your ex makes an application to the Court in Ireland.
The only issue that will be dealt with in court is whether he can afford the payments - and that is about him producing details of his income and outgoings.
If the court decide he cannot afford it then they will only enforce the lower figure BUT the actual order remains in force and the balance will accrue as arrears which he will have to pay after the Order has actually ended until everything has been cleared
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for replying. However I do need some clarification if you don't mind
1. Why would he apply to a court in Ireland? Our divorce and consent order happened in UK and had nothing to do with Irish courts?
2. The reason full maintence does not come to me is not because he cannot afford it. It's just that he diverts half of it directly to our daughter despite the consent order requiring that it is paid direct to me. Could the court decide to change that and allow him pay a portion direct to our daughter/her landlord?
3. Even though most of the deductions he made from my maintenance went to our child anyway, is it likely that he will have to pay me back those arrears as diverting money from me breaches the court order?
Appreciate your response. Once answered I will be in a position to close and rate the answer. Thank you.


My apologies - I should have noted that - it was remiss of me

However why did you apply to Dublin to enforce an Order made in the UK?


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Because there is a central unit for maintenance recovery in Dublin who liaise with their equivalent in UK to enforce maintenance orders under the following regulation... It seems prudent to utilise them
Application for enforcement of maintenance obligations under EC Regulation
4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition, and enforcement of
decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations
That would only have been necessary had you wished to enforce an Irish Order in the Uk.
Indeed I am a little concerned that the Unit accepted it.
Since it is in fact a Uk Order then you could have applied to enforce it yourself - however could you clarify how old your daughter is and why she is paying rent separately from you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am not sure what you say is correct. The unit is specifically for recovering maintenance from abroad. Please see extract below...
Maintenance from abroad
Ireland is party to various international conventions and there are also EU Regulations which facilitate the recovery of maintenance from abroad. See our document on the EU and family law.
If you wish to obtain maintenance from someone living abroad, contact the Central Authority for Maintenance Recovery in the Department of Justice and Equality for help - see 'Contacts' below. You must have an address for the other party.
In any case, our daughter is 20 and attending college in Dublin and rents a flat there coming home regularly. The consent order States that maintenance is paid until she finishes college or reaches the age of 22 and I copied that extract from the consent order below...
3. From the date of this Order the Respondent shall pay periodical payments to the Petitioner for the benefit of the child of the family Molly Anne Rachel Forde-Bates (d.o.b. 14/05/1995) at the rate of £1,000 per month until the child 1) ceasing tertiary education to the end of first degree course; or 2) reaching the age of twenty-two whichever shall be the earlier. The first payment shall commence on 15th July 2011 and the rates of periodical payments ordered shall be varied upwards automatically with effect from the payment due on 1st July in each year commencing on 1st July 2012 by the percentage by which the retail price index shall have increased between the date 15 months prior to the variation and 3 months prior thereto.
Hope that helps. Áine
The Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders is used where you have an Order made in one country (as in Ireland) that needs to be enforced in another (as in England)
You are not in this position.
Your position is that you have a Uk Order which is being enforced in the Uk - although you currently happen to live in Ireland
I have to say that so far as the Uk Court is concerned if he shows that he is paying the Landlord directly those payments will NOT be seen as being in arrears - and that would be no difference if you were in attendance at the court
However the annual increase is clearly in arrears - as are the bank charges IF the original order made provision for the payment to be made to an Irish account
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So the court could order that he can continue to pay our daughters rent direct? He therefore decides how the maintenance is spent? The consent order specifically states it's paid to the petitioner. Me.
Our child's family home could be in jeopardy if he continues in this manner. The maintenance pays the mortgage.
I copied the only extract from the consent order relating to maintenance. It makes no reference to bank charges or accounts, irish or otherwise.
These should be the last questions on the matter. Thank you.
It is unlikely that the court will Order him to pay the rent direct - but the fact that he has paid it means that they will not count that as arrears.
It shoudl however be possible to get the court to confirm that in future he paid you.
Given the position with regard to the accounts it is possible that the court will not see the fact that he deducts the bank charges as unreasonable.
You could avoid this by opening a UK account into which the payments can be made
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm not sure why I'm penalised because my ex husband chose to live in another country but in any case, it's not the main issue.
My questions are answered in the main. Thank you. But can you clarify something you mentioned above albeit you though it was an Irish order.
Now that you're aware it's sn English order being enforced in the UK, is the hearing simply to enforcie the order or can my ex look to vary it? I assume I would have advance notice if he was seeking to vary it? Hard to see how he would justify it as he had married since (improving household income as she works). They have no children and his income has increased since the consent order.
Thank you.
Since it is an English Order then the Court can decide to vary it - but he would indeed have to give you notice of his intention to do so.
The only real risk is that he will ask the court to order that he pay your daughter direct - but should this happen it can be appealed
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34886
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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