Still owed finances from a divorce, where do I stand?


The settlement of a divorce is usually the end of a sometimes long and arduous time. However, just because there is a financial ruling made by the court in your favour does not mean that the other party will comply. Often they think that the decision on them is unfair. However, if the court has ordered them to pay you a certain amount they must heed this arrangement.

Family Law

Simpson Millar LLP has prepared the following guide to tell you your rights if your former spouse refuses to hand over the money or transfer assets they owe to you after a divorce.

Some solicitors may not have thought to put any safeguards in place to make sure the other side pay up. If that is the case, you will then have to use the expertise of another solicitor to recover what is owed.

How Can a Solicitor Help in This Situation?

There are a number of ways that a solicitor can help in this situation, your own solicitor will be able to talk you through these options and any more they think are appropriate.

These include:

  • Getting information from your former spouse
  • An attachment of earnings – this is helpful where you are owed monthly maintenance
  • A charging order
  • A third party order
  • An order to implement a property transfer etc

What can these options do for me?

All of these options are routes that your solicitor can take to get you the money a court of law has said is legally yours.

By getting information about your ex partners financial situation, your solicitor can see if it is within your best interests to pursue the money or if you may be better off letting the situation lie. For some people closure of the situation is enough, however if it is not in your circumstances and you think the money would be of real use to you a solicitor can help.

If your ex-partner is employed in the UK, you may be able to get an attachment of earnings. This would mean that any monthly maintenance they owe you would come straight out of their wages, leaving them no room to deny you money that is legally yours. This is called an attachment of earnings order.

If your ex-partner owns a property and they have not paid you, you could have the amount of money they owe you secured against their property. If they still fail to comply with the court order, in some situations you may be able to force the sale of that property to recover the money they owe you. This is called a charging order.

Finally, if your ex-partner has any money in a bank account, the bank could pay you the money that is owed to you from that account to settle the debt. This can only be done if your solicitor can secure a court order to do so. This is called a third party debt order. A third party debt order can also be used to divert money they are owed directly to you, for example if they're self-employed.

Whichever decision you choose to make, a good solicitor will be able to guide you through the process and tell you which one is worth your time and effort.

How Can I Get the Process Started?

You should not make any delays if you are owed money by your ex-partner and they are refusing to pay up. You will need the courts permission to enforce any orders and they are reluctant to give it after 12 months of maintenance arrears.

As soon as you are aware of the situation it is best to contact a solicitor. Simpson Millar LLP has introduced an out of hours appointment service so if you cannot contact us within the normal 9am- 5pm time frame we can offer to book you in for a face to face or telephone consultation outside of normal office hours.

Face to face appointments take place at our Leeds Park Place branch on Thursday 5pm-7pm or Saturday mornings 9am-12noon. Alternatively, we can book you in for a telephone consultation between the same times so you can talk to us from the comfort of your own home.

All appointments must be booked in advance so we can give your case the time and consideration it deserves.

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