Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

Your spouse has ignored the court order? Use a judgment summons.

The High Court recently dealt with a non-paying husband and father, imposing a suspended sentence of 14 days of imprisonment, after he refused to pay the amount he had previously agreed to pay in child maintenance and towards legal fees.


A financial agreement was reached by the parties, which included payments for spousal and child maintenance, on 4 August 2011 (Migliaccio v Migliaccio*).


The Wife subsequently issued enforcement proceedings in early 2015, as the Husband owed her £64,000 in unpaid spousal and child maintenance.  The Husband had the means to pay the maintenance from his salary as a senior business manager for Deutsche Bank earning £140,728 per annum.  The parties agreed in those enforcement proceedings that the Husband would no longer pay spousal maintenance and would pay a reduced amount of child periodical payments every month.  He agreed to pay £13,500 towards the arrears he owed and £5,500 towards the wife’s legal fees.


The Husband did not abide by the terms of that court order. The Husband did not pay the £5,500 he had promised to pay towards the Wife’s costs.  He paid £1,150 of child maintenance for three months and then paid dwindling amounts.


The Husband wrote to the court to explain why he had reduced the payments.  One of the reasons was that the child had spent a month with him, and consequently did not consider that the mother had need of the money that month.   The judge considered that the Husband had a “profound misunderstanding of obligations under an order of a court of law”.  He was content that all of the debt could be enforced either under the Debtors Act, or within the terms of the punishment awarded against the debtor.


The judge concluded “I impose a sentence on him of fourteen days’ imprisonment, the warrant in respect of which will be suspended provided that within 28 days he pays the following sums: “£4,100 of arrears of child periodical payments; £5,500 in relation to the agreed prior costs; £100 court fee; £500 unused conduct money; and the wife’s costs of this application, which I summarily assess in the sum of £3,613.  A total of £13,813.”


*Migliaccio v Migliaccio [2016] EWHC 1055 (Fam)

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