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Overseas divorce, I’ve got an Order made in a Court overseas but I need to enforce it?

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The registration of foreign orders in England and Wales is a minefield of complicated legislation. Enforcement can take place pursuant to several different treaties and international obligations.

If you are on the receiving end of this, the first you may hear about it is that you are summoned to the Magistrates Court in England to find out why you haven’t paid what you should. Sometimes, you may not even have known that an Order has been made and are presented with a large bill by the Magistrates Court and if you don’t pay it, threat of imprisonment. To apply to vary or quash these Orders is a complicated process.

Maintenance Orders made in a European country can often be registered in England and Wales and the Magistrates Court will then take up responsibility for recovering payment for you. Orders for payment of lump sums and costs can often also be registered in England and Wales and again enforcement proceedings will be commenced by the Magistrates Court on your behalf.

These proceedings are often fraught with delay, and complexity of legislation which many Courts are unfamiliar with, and it’s important to obtain specialist legal advice to make sure that you have the right to ask the Court in England to make the Orders you want it to make.