Hi all, have tried the usual internet searches, etc, but can find very little about the subject of having a previous overseas Maintenance Order enforced here in the UK. Hopefully someone out there may be able to assist?
My story - lived overseas, got divorced in early 2006 and came back to the UK to live later the same year. Whilst overseas I was subject to a Maintenance Order (MO) in respect of my ex-wife and 2 children, who continue to reside with their Mother overseas. Whilst resident overseas, the MO was of course calculated on my salary and benefits in existence at the time, and I complied fully with the MO.
Returning to the UK, I found myself unemployed for the first 9 months and therefore could not comply with the original MO. In that time I informed my ex-wife of my situation. When I did secure employment in 2007, it was on a salary far below my previous overseas earnings and therefore the maintenance I could pay was far less than the MO, and again explained to my ex-wife. I have paid maintenance, albeit a lower amount, since employment. In this time I had not sought a Variation Order.
My ex-wife is now seeking to register the original overseas MO here in the UK for enforcement, as permitted under the Recipricol Enforcement Maintenance Orders (REMO) protocol. With this my ex-wife is seeking the enforcement of the original order (and therefore the original amounts) and the arrears of maintenance not paid whilst I was unemployed, and arrears on the difference of maintenance paid against that ordered. This is despite her full knowledge of my changed financial situation, also given to her solicitors.
What I cannot find out is the process by which this REMO is presented to me by a UK Court and the process by which I can subsequently present my justifications for the non-payment (arrears) and decreased maintenance amount or in what format. Any experience?
Secondly, would my unemployment status, which meant I had an impossibility of compliance with the original overseas order, negate a claim on those arrears or will I still be liable for the arrears in any case(i.e. like a bank debt)because I had not sort a variation order ? Would a Court find my situation and justifications reasonable and therefore make a variation upon my application?
Any comments will be received with great interest and appreciated. Thanks.
You won't like this, but my understanding is that the reciprocal arrangements are just about enforcing an order made abroad and that you would need to take up the matter of changing the terms of the order with the court abroad.
Does this mean that the UK Court will not take into account the debtors means and ability to comply with the order? i.e. the original overseas MO amount is more than my current Net monthly salary here in the UK, so (1) I could not pay; (2) I would have no living expenses whatsoever.
My belief was, and I may of course be wrong, is that with the MO registered formerly in the UK, then this would allow a UK Court to hear the issues surrounding the MO, as if heard in the Court at the country of origin? i.e. Section 27A of UK REMO Act 1992.......'an application to which this section applies shall be treated for the purposes of any enactment as if it were an application for a maintenance order under the relevant act, made at the time when the application was received (in UK)'