The Problem Page - maintenance payments

I often get members messaging me with individual problems, maybe there's something they don't want to go public with or maybe they just want a sympathetic ear. Who knows? In any case, we've thought for a while now that an SFN problem page would be a good idea, a problem shared is a problem halved and all that, so here *drum roll* is the first ever reader's problem on our new Problem Page section.

If you've got a problem you'd like me to post anonymously on your behalf, just send me a PM and I'll do the rest.

Hopefully this lady will get a load of useful input from SFN members...


I have a French court order for maintenance for my three children against my ex-husband who is British and lives in the UK - fyi we divorced before the kids and I moved to France. The court order is from July 2012 and he has never paid it - he believes he is safe and that no one can touch him because we are in a different country.

CAF had said they were going to pursue this, but after just almost a year and a half of obtaining all the data and paperwork they had asked for, they said that due to changes in the process it was too complicated for them to purse :-(.

That's when I contacted REMO and asked friends.

I contacted the REMO office in the UK and they said I have to contact the court that issued the order. However, we are having great difficulty in finding anyone in the court who will help me. No one seems to know which department is responsible for dealing with claims under the reciprocal agreement!

French friends (even one who is a lawyer) have been trying to find out for me too, but to no avail. I can't believe that I am the only person in my area that has ever had to make a claim for enforcement under the reciprocal agreement! Would you happen to know, or are you able to find out, who in a court is responsible for such cases?

Please, before you start any high dose vitamins, do check with your doctor. While I take a general supplement, my OH took one for years that we subsequently found because of an underlying condition, which was very rare but would have picked up with a blood test, his supplements were actually really bad for him …

I'm glad it's working for you Martin.

Not at all a waste of time John. The French courts have reciprecol agreements with many other countries to enforce child maintenance payments. The Caf (Caisse Allocation Famille) have a dedicated department to pursue such matters.

Provided the children are French resident, and there is a French court order, then payments can be enforced virtually anywhere. Of course there can be problems regardless of international frontiers.

In my case, so far the Caf are chasing up payments from my children's mother (who lives in UK)

I would have thought you are wasting your time trying to get a French court to force a UK resident to do anything. It's not their problem. Don't you need to drive this through the UK system.

I'm in a similar position, but the Caf only took my case on mid-August, working to a court order I obtained here in France. I telephoned them the other day and it's all still going ahead. My estranged wife, currently living in UK, has a good income there, details of which I have passed on to the Caf, so I don't foresee a problem ....... am I being naive?

Was your court order made in France?

First reply:

Hi Catherine,

Hope you are well.

Maybe you could pass this on to the lady looking for help with maintenance, as I don't really want to put my financial details on a public forum, but the way I've been able to force X to make maintenance payments in respect of the children was to apply for a Court Order in the English courts, so if he ever reneges I'll be able to pursue action against him that way.

I can recommend a UK based solicitor who has helped me if she would like that?

I've also considered that if he does ever refuse to pay, I would use my parent's address as my home address and applying through the CSA, but I'm not really sure how effective this is, like I say it's just something I've considered.

Take care.