New Powers Proposed to Make Family Financial Settlements Effective

March 16, 2017

New Powers Proposed to Make Family Financial Settlements Effective

The problem of making family financial settlements or court rulings in divorce 'stick' is well known. Following an extensive consultation process, the Law Commission has made proposals designed to improve the situation for those affected when payments are not being made as they should.

As well as simplifications in the law and procedures, the Commission is proposing:

  • increasing the obligations on the debtor to make an honest and early disclosure of their financial circumstances (including allowing the court to require information from third parties) and giving the court wide powers to ensure enforcement. This will include allowing enforcement against assets which currently cannot be brought into the equation; and
  • enabling the courts to 'apply pressure to debtors who have the means to pay but are refusing'. These powers will include the temporary revocation of the right to drive or leave the country.

The report was published on 15 December 2016 and the Government's response is expected shortly.