Thursday, 23 March 2017

New Family Law Rules

The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2017 SI 2017/413 along with a  practice direction concerning new and revised forms come into force on 6 April 2017.


Where an applicant applies for a non-molestation order or occupation order, they will be forbidden to serve the court papers on the other party themselves. There is a similar long-standing prohibition against anyone applying for a divorce and certain other matrimonial orders themselves serving court papers on the other party. The upshot is that the applicant who has no lawyer will have to ask the court to serve through the bailiff or will have to organise some other responsible adult to effect service. That adult does not have to be a paid process server. The police domestic violence units or some charities may be prepared  to help. The worry is that court bailiffs will be run off their feet and often unable to track down the respondent who could be spending a lot of their time in local betting shops or pubs - or both. 

Enforcement of maintenance and other financial orders made in matrimonial proceedings by way of attachment of earnings or a charging order is now dealt with by the Family Court instead of the County Court. To cater for this, new application forms are being introduced and will be accessible at hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk The FE15 is the attachment of earnings application form and the FE6 and FE7 the charging order application for land and securities respectively.You can also make a search with the court to see whether there is already an attachment of earnings order in force in favour of another creditor. The new form there will be the FE16.