Sometimes obtaining a satisfactory maintenance order or succeeding in getting a valuable financial settlement following your divorce is only part of the story. Even when there is an apparently bottomless pot of marital assets, enforcing a financial order can be fraught with difficulty.

The divorce of Russian oligarch Farkhad Akhmedov demonstrates this point clearly. Despite obtaining a £453 million high court settlement in 2016, Akhmedov’s ex wife Tatiana is yet to successfully enforce the judgment.

Ultimately of course a spouse who is not following a court order can be imprisoned for contempt. But if your ex spouse is refusing to comply with a court order you should seek legal advice urgently. That’s because monies due under some orders, including maintenance orders, may sometimes be more difficult to recover if action is not taken swiftly and arrears are outstanding for more than 12 months.

There are various options available to you if you wish to enforce a court order against an uncooperative spouse. And they don’t all involve years of litigation like in the Akhmedov case we’ve mentioned. One method of enforcement – so-called Hadkinson orders – are particularly useful if the non-compliant spouse is at the same time pursuing any type of application against you in the case.

What is a Hadkinson Order?

The first thing to note is that Hadkinson Orders aren’t that common. In the right circumstances however– when one spouse repeatedly ignores court orders following a financial settlement for example – they can be a highly effective and cost effective way to ensure your ex spouse meets his or her obligations.

In essence Hadkinson orders stop the person against whom they are made from being heard by the court in another application in the same case. So take the example of a spouse who is refusing to honour an obligation to make periodical payments for maintenance under a court order. He or she may wish to apply to the court to reduce the maintenance payments – perhaps arguing that their ability to pay has reduced since the original order was made. But because non-payment means he or she is in contempt of court it’s open to the other party to apply for a Hadkinson order. If the application is successful the non-paying spouse will be prevented from making an application to vary the maintenance payments.

Often the Hadkinson order will be enough to ensure that outstanding payments are made and the otherwise convoluted and time-consuming enforcement process is circumvented.

Comment

In the original Hadkinson case Lord Denning said:

it is a strong thing for a court to refuse to hear a party to a cause and it is only to be justified by grave considerations of public policy

Prohibiting someone from being heard in court is indeed a harsh penalty so judges don’t dispense Hadkinson orders without a great deal of consideration. This means that in addition to ascertaining whether the non-paying spouse is in contempt, judges will look at a range of other factors, including whether or not the contempt is an impediment to the course of justice and whether or not there is an alternative way of ensuring compliance.

That said, the 2019 case of HR v DS appeared to extend the application of Hadkinson orders so that they may be used more frequently in future.

Historically Hadkinson orders applied only to stop someone making an application in the same proceedings. But in HR v DS the Hadkinson order was for the first time used in a separate but, in the judge’s words, ‘intrinsically linked’ case. (The  Hadkinson order was obtained to prevent a husband pursuing an appeal in a case that related to occupation of the family home until he paid maintenance that was outstanding under a consent order in a separate financial remedy case).

 

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

I had a first consultation with Kevin, who very diligently and professionally provided an exhaustive overview of the divorce process and the best approach for my specific case.

Jul 2023   Giulia Matteo

Great service and excellent advice at the initial consultation. I would certainly recommend and use in the future.

Jul 2023   Tom James

Spoke to a kind solicitor this morning who took an hour of her time to talk me through some advice relating to a difficult separation.... She was clear and helpful with her advice, leaving me feeling much more confident with the process ahead of me.

Jun 2023   Luke Taylor

Mr Brookman provided very clear advice that left me with no doubt about the options and next steps. Getting specific advice with the requirements in the different jurisdictions was particularly useful so I won’t need to consult another lawyer outside of the UK

May 2023   Julian Anthony

From initial contact I found all staff extremely helpful and professional. My options were made clear, my query was dealt with in a sympathetic way. Would highly recommend Brookman Solicitors.

Mar 2023   seamus mcguinness

The initial consultation I have just completed with Henry Brookman was very informative; he was very open and honest about my situation, the legalities of the matter and the extent of how his firm could help.

Nov 2022   Kimberley Noakes

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470