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The Matrimonial and Family Proceedings (Northern Ireland) Order 1989

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Provisions relating to powers of the High Court and county courts

Interest on lump sums

5.  In Article 25 of the principal Order (financial provision orders in connection with divorce proceedings, etc.) after paragraph (6) there shall be added the following paragraph—

(7) Where the court

(a)makes an order under this Article for the payment of a lump sum; and

(b)directs—

(i)that payment of that sum or any part of it shall be deferred, or

(ii)that that sum or any part of it shall be paid by instalments,

the court may order that the amount deferred or the instalments shall carry interest at such rate as may be specified by the order from such date, not earlier than the date of the order, as may be so specified until the date when payment of it is due..

Orders for financial relief after divorce, etc.

6.  For Article 27 of the principal Order there shall be substituted the following Articles—

Matters to which court is to have regard in deciding how to exercise its powers under Articles 25 and 26

27.(1) t shall be the duty of the court in deciding whether to exercise its powers under Article 25 or 26 and, if so, in what manner, to have regard to all the circumstances of the case, first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of 18.

(2) As regards the exercise of the powers of the court under Article 25(1)(a), (b) or (c) or 26 in relation to a party to the marriage, the court shall in particular have regard to the following matters—

(a)the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;

(b)the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

(c)the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;

(d)the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;

(e)any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;

(f)the contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;

(g)the conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;

(h)in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

(3) As regards the exercise of the powers of the court under Article 25(1)(d), (e) or (f), (2) or (4) or 26 in relation to a child of the family, the court shall in particular have regard to the following matters—

(a)the financial needs of the child;

(b)the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the child;

(c)any physical or mental disability of the child;

(d)the manner in which he was being and in which the parties to the marriage expected him to be educated or trained;

(e)the considerations mentioned in relation to the parties to the marriage in sub-paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (e) of paragraph (2).

(4) As regards the exercise of the powers of the court under Article 25(1)(d), (e) or (f), (2) or (4) or 26 against a party to a marriage in favour of a child of the family who is not the child of that party, the court shall also have regard—

(a)to whether that party assumed any responsibility for the child’s maintenance, and, if so, to the extent to which, and the basis upon which, that party assumed such responsibility and to the length of time for which that party discharged such responsibility;

(b)to whether in assuming and discharging such responsibility that party did so knowing that the child was not his or her own;

(c)to the liability of any other person to maintain the child.

Exercise of court’s powers in favour of party to marriage on decree of divorce or nullity of marriage

27A.(1) Where on or after the grant of a decree of divorce or nullity of marriage the court decides to exercise its powers under Article 25(1)(a), (b) or (c) or 26 in favour of a party to the marriage, it shall be the duty of the court to consider whether it would be appropriate so to exercise those powers that the financial obligations of each party towards the other will be terminated as soon after the grant of the decree as the court considers just and reasonable.

(2) Where the court decides in such a case to make a periodical payments or secured periodical payments order in favour of a party to the marriage, the court shall in particular consider whether it would be appropriate to require those payments to be made or secured only for such term as would in the opinion of the court be sufficient to enable the party in whose favour the order is made to adjust without undue hardship to the termination of his or her financial dependence on the other party.

(3) Where on or after the grant of a decree of divorce or nullity of marriage an application is made by a party to the marriage for a periodical payments or secured periodical payments order in his or her favour, then, if the court considers that no continuing obligation should be imposed on either party to make or secure periodical payments in favour of the other, the court may dismiss the application with a direction that the applicant shall not be entitled to make any further application in relation to that marriage for an order under Article 25(1)(a) or (b)..

Orders for financial relief in case of neglect to maintain

7.  In Article 29 of the principal Order (financial provision in case of neglect to maintain) for paragraphs (2) and (3) there shall be substituted the following paragraphs—

(2) Where an application under this Article is made on the ground mentioned in paragraph (1)(a), then, in deciding—

(a)whether the respondent has failed to provide reasonable maintenance for the applicant, and

(b)what order, if any, to make under this Article in favour of the applicant,

it shall be the duty of the court to have regard to all the circumstances of the case (including the matters mentioned in Article 27(2)(a) to (g)), first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of 18.

(3) Where an application under this Article is made on the ground mentioned in paragraph (1)(b), then, in deciding—

(a)whether the respondent has failed to provide, or to make a proper contribution towards, reasonable maintenance for the child of the family to whom the application relates, and

(b)what order, if any, to make under this Article in favour of the child,

it shall be the duty of the court to have regard to all the circumstances of the case (including the matters specified in paragraph (3A)), first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of the child.

(3A) The matters referred to in paragraph (3) are—

(a)where the child of the family to whom the application relates is not the child of the respondent, the matters mentioned in Article 27(3)(a) to (e) and those mentioned in Article 27(4)(a) to (c);

(b)in any other case, the matters mentioned in Article 27(3)(a) to (e)..

Duration of orders for periodical payments and effect of remarriage

8.—(1) In Article 30(1) of the principal Order (duration of continuing financial provision orders in favour of party to a marriage), for the words from the beginning to “the following limits” there shall be substituted the words “Subject in the case of an order made on or after the grant of a decree of divorce or nullity of marriage to the provisions of Articles 27A(2) and 33(7), the term to be specified in a periodical payments or secured periodical payments order in favour of a party to a marriage shall be such term as the court thinks fit, except that the term shall not begin before or extend beyond the following limits” .

(2) After paragraph (1) of the said Article 30 there shall be inserted the following paragraph—

(1A) Where a periodical payments or secured periodical payments order in favour of a party to a marriage is made on or after the grant of a decree of divorce or nullity of marriage, the court may direct that that party shall not be entitled to apply under Article 33 for the extension of the term specified in the order.

(3) In paragraph (3) of the said Article 30 (effect of remarriage on financial provision orders), after the word “remarries” there shall be inserted the words “whether at any time before or after the commencement of this Article” .

(4) In Article 31(2) of the principal Order (duration of continuing financial provision orders in favour of children), in sub-paragraph (a), for the words “unless the court thinks it right in the circumstances of the case to specify a later date” there shall be substituted the words “unless the court considers that in the circumstances of the case the welfare of the child requires that it should extend to a later date” .

Variation and discharge of orders for periodical payments

9.—(1) Article 33 of the principal Order (variation and discharge of orders) shall be amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph (1) after the words “subject to the provisions of this Article” there shall be inserted the words “and of Article 30(1A)” .

(3) After paragraph (2) there shall be inserted the following paragraph—

(2A) Where the court has made an order referred to in paragraph (2)(a), (b) or (c), then, subject to the provisions of this Article, the court shall have power to remit the payment of any arrears due under the order or of any part thereof..

(4) For paragraph (7) there shall be substituted the following paragraph—

(7) In exercising the powers conferred by this Article the court shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case, first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of 18, and the circumstances of the case shall include any change in any of the matters to which the court was required to have regard when making the order to which the application relates, and—

(a)in the case of a periodical payments or secured periodical payments order made on or after the grant of a decree of divorce or nullity of marriage, the court shall consider whether in all the circumstances and after having regard to any such change it would be appropriate to vary the order so that payments under the order are required to be made or secured only for such further period as will in the opinion of the court be sufficient to enable the party in whose favour the order was made to adjust without undue hardship to the termination of those payments;

(b)in a case where the party against whom the order was made has died, the circumstances of the case shall also include the changed circumstances resulting from his or her death..

(5) After paragraph (9) there shall be added the following paragraph—

(10) Where the court, in exercise of its powers under this Article, decides to vary or discharge a periodical payments or secured periodical payments order, then, subject to Article 30(1) and (2), the court shall have power to direct that the variation or discharge shall not take effect until the expiration of such period as may be specified in the order..

Consent orders for financial provision or property adjustment

10.  The following cross-heading and Article shall be inserted after Article 35 of the principal Order—

Consent orders
Consent orders for financial provision or property adjustment

35A.(1) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this Part, on an application for a consent order for financial relief the court may, unless it has reason to think that there are other circumstances into which it ought to inquire, make an order in the terms agreed on the basis only of the prescribed information furnished with the application.

(2) Paragraph (1) applies to an application for a consent order varying or discharging an order for financial relief as it applies to an application for an order for financial relief.

(3) In this Article—

  • “consent order”, in relation to an application for an order, means an order in the terms applied for to which the respondent agrees;

  • “order for financial relief” means an order under any of Articles 25, 26 or 29; and

  • “prescribed” means prescribed by rules of court..

Restrictions imposed in divorce proceedings etc., on applications under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979

11.  For paragraph (1) of Article 17 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979(1) (under which the court on the grant of a decree of divorce, nullity or judicial separation has power, if the parties to the marriage agree, to order that one party shall not on the death of the other party be entitled to apply for an order under Article 4 of that Order) there shall be substituted the following paragraph—

(1) On the grant of a decree of divorce, a decree of nullity of marriage or a decree of judicial separation or at any time thereafter the High Court or a divorce county court, if it considers it just to do so, may, on the application of either party to the marriage, order that the other party to the marriage shall not on the death of the applicant be entitled to apply for an order under Article 4..

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