Undertakings – What are they and when are they used?

Undertakings are legal and binding promises to the court. In this blog we are looking specifically at two forms of undertakings – undertakings to do or not do something other than pay money (e.g to take out a life assurance policy) and undertakings to pay money.

An undertaking to do something or not to do something other than pay month includes a notice to the person giving the undertaking setting out the consequences if they breach that undertaking i.e. that they could be fined, imprisoned or their assets may be seized.

An undertaking to pay money also accompanies a notice to the person giving the undertaking setting out the consequences if they breach it i.e. that the person entitled to enforce the undertaking can apply to court for an order. If the person giving the undertaking is proven to have been able to pay the sum of money he undertook to pay but has refused or neglected to pay it, then he could be sent to prison.

The person giving the undertaking must make a signed statement to the effect that he understands the terms of the undertaking being given. There are different statements for the person to sign depending on which form of undertaking he is giving to the court.

Whichever statement the person giving the undertaking signs, this will be transcribed into an order which the court will need to review and approve. A general form of undertaking is not required. Undertakings are extremely serious and legal advice should always be taken before signing or agreeing to provide an undertaking to the court.

Serving Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes, our lawyers can help you with your family law and divorce matters. Contact us today on 01234 889777 to speak to a specialist solicitor about how we can assist you.

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