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This leaflet only deals with maintenance Orders made in the Family Court. If your maintenance order was made in the High Court you will need to contact the Court where the order was made – the staff there will be able to assist you.

If your maintenance was assessed by the CSA/CMS you will need to telephone their national enquiry line on 08457 133133.

If your maintenance was assessed by a Family Court which was previously a magistrates court, you will need to contact the Family Court where the order was made.

There will be a fee payable to the County Court for all of the following options. Any fee you pay will be added to the money you are already owed under the maintenance order, but the Court cannot refund the fee if your application does not succeed. However, if you receive legal aid then the fee will be covered under your legal aid certificate.


Before an application can be made, it is important to know where the debtor lives, as the Court will only be able to help if the address is known.

An application for registration of an unpaid maintenance order can be made to the Family Court that made the order. However, we use the Coventry Family Court which is the local “divorce Court” and which accepts applications for registration of unpaid maintenance Orders.

If the order has been unpaid for over one year, we will need to apply to the Court for leave (permission) to make an enforcement application.

You will need to let us have the maintenance order as it will need to be attached to your application.

The Court staff will then pass your application to a Judge. If your application is filled in correctly and the Judge agrees to your application, the Family Court will then register the order.

The Court will act as debt collectors for the unpaid maintenance.

You do not need to tell the debtor that you are making an application and the Court where you make the application will not tell the debtor about it either. It will be the Court that contacts the debtor.

Obtaining this type of order means that the debtor’s employer regularly deducts money from the debtor’s income. You should only apply for this order if the debtor is in regular paid work (not selfemployed).

You cannot apply for an attachment of earnings order if the debtor is a member of the armed forces.

You will need to swear an affidavit which is a written statement which you swear is the truth. In the affidavit you must say how much money you are owed and how you worked out that amount.

You can be sworn to your affidavit, either at another solicitor’s office (a charge of £5 will apply) or at a local Family Court free of charge.

Your application for an attachment of earnings order should be made in the Family Court where the maintenance order was made. However, if your maintenance order was made in the High Court you can contact the Family Court nearest to where the debtor lives or works.

Your application will need to be accompanied with your sworn affidavit, a copy of the maintenance order and the appropriate fee.

The debtor will be served by the Court with a copy of your application.

You will usually have to attend a hearing at which the Judge will decide whether to make the order and, if so, how much the debtor should pay each month.

If the debtor does not attend the hearing, the Judge can order him/her to be present at another hearing. If the debtor then does not attend that hearing, he or she can be arrested and brought to Court.

Once an attachment of earnings order has been made, the debtor’s employer should send the money to the Court and the Court will send it to you.

The Court can take action against the employer if they do not keep to the order.

There are other Orders available, such as a third party debt order, charging order, judgement summons and warrant of execution. However, it is rarely necessary to obtain one of these Orders and therefore they are not explained in this leaflet.

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