A number of options are being considered by the Law Commission in an effort to find effective ways to enforce the financial orders made in family proceedings, such as the consent orders made in divorce cases.
One of the major changes being considered would give courts the power to use assets that belong to the party owing the money. For example:
- Pensions – the court could make a pension sharing order, even if the original financial order did not relate to pensions
- Joint accounts – the court could be allowed to make orders against accounts held with a third party. Enforcement could only be made against the debtors share, but the court could presume that it was held in equal shares.
Other important changes are also being considered as a means of enforcement include preventing travel through disqualification from driving and passport confiscation.
Sharon McKie, specialist divorce solicitor, commented: “Whilst it is not year clear which of the proposals will be adopted, many of the suggestions are likely to assist in the enforcement of orders in the future and may even act as a deterrent to potential breaches.”