Persistent failure to pay maintenance payments ordered by the court can lead to substantial penalties, as a father discovered recently.

After a history of failing to meet his obligations, the court ordered that a suspended committal order be served on the man, so that he would make good the considerable arrears of maintenance that had built up. He failed to pay the amount outstanding and appealed against the order.

The court ordered him to file documents to substantiate his case by a given date. He failed to do so and did not appear before the court, offering the excuse that he was looking for employment.

The court regarded the appeal as lacking merit and confirmed the order. The man will therefore go to prison if he does not comply with it.