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Family Analysis: Professor Elizabeth Cooke and Spencer Clarke introduce the Law Commission’s project on the enforcement of family financial orders and ask for responses to the consultation paper.
The Law Commission has opened a consultation on the enforcement of family financial orders and aims to publish a report with recommendations to the government within 18 months to two years from the close of the consultation in July 2015. The Commission has invited responses to the questions and proposals contained in the paper, which can be downloaded here.
What is the project about?
We explore how the enforcement of family financial orders might be improved, from the perspective of both the creditor and the debtor. We are not, in this project, concerned with the basis for such orders, so the question is ‘How do I get my money?’ rather than ‘What should my ex pay?’ The project covers the enforcement of all court orders that make financial provision for former spouses or partners and children, for example, periodical payment orders, orders for a lump sum and orders that transfer property, such as the matrimonial home. Typically, these orders will be made under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989. The enforcement of child support payable under an assessment by the Child Maintenance Service falls outside the scope of the project.
Why is reform needed?
The law in this area has been criticised by lawyers and the public for being ineffective and difficult to use or understand. We focus on the enforcement of family financial orders, as distinct from civil orders generally, both because such orders will usually be made under the separate jurisdiction of the family court and because we think that family enforcement raises different issues. The non-payment of family financial orders, so often relied on to meet living expenses and housing needs, can cause particular hardship and the nature of such orders means
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