If ex-spouses fail to pay lump sums or maintenance as ordered by the Court, the remedies are currently very limited. A wife can currently ask for her ex-husband to be committed to prison, although the burden of proof for this is high and is often not relied upon in practice.
Reform has been called for and potential plans for change could see ex-spouses who continue to flout the terms of financial Orders facing driving and travel bans until they have made the necessary payments.
Law reformers yesterday called for fresh sanctions against those who avoid paying divorce settlements ordered by the courts. Among the penalties should be 12-month driving bans and the confiscation of passports, the Law Commission said. The plan for husbands, and some wives, follows complaints that 'family financial orders' imposed in a divorce are frequently ignored, and that those who fail to pay cannot easily be punished.