The divorce that rumbles on… twenty-six years later

It was the year of the first Gulf War, the year the Soviet Union broke up, the year that Silence of the Lambs was released, and the year that Freddy Mercury died. It was also the year that Timothy and Carole Hayes were divorced. It was 1991.

But whilst those other things may have passed into history, the aftershocks from Mr and Mrs Hayes’ divorce still rumble on.

Mr and Mrs Hayes were back in the High Court this week, twenty-six years after their divorce was apparently finalised. At that time they agreed financial arrangements between themselves, and a consent order was drawn up to give effect to the agreement. However, the matter was not in fact finalised, as Mrs Hayes believes that Mr Hayes hid up to £1 million abroad, and that she should therefore receive an increased settlement. Mr Hayes has always denied the claim.

Mr and Mrs Hayes were previously in the High Court in 2014, when Mrs Hayes was appealing against the dismissal of a bankruptcy petition she obtained against Mr Hayes, after he failed to pay sums arising from the financial settlement. Mr Hayes had opposed the bankruptcy order on the basis that his cross-claim against Mrs Hayes for damages for harassing him and his new wife in respect of the alleged hidden monies exceeded the petition debt. Mrs Hayes’ appeal was dismissed by Mr Justice Nugee.

The new proceedings relate to an attempt by Mr Hayes to have Mrs Hayes declared bankrupt for non-payment of costs orders made against her between 2006 and 2015, totalling around £50,000. Mrs Hayes asked the court to rule that she should not have to pay, but Mr Justice Morgan rejected her appeal, commenting: “There is a long history of litigation between these two parties. It has continued for a long time and has resulted in very many – some would say too many – court appearances.”

Mr and Mrs Hayes were both about 40 when they were divorced. They are now both past retirement age. Mrs Hayes has reportedly said that she just wants the matter concluded before she dies.

Whist we do not wish to make any comment upon this case specifically, Family Law Cafe believe that it is a tragedy if divorcing couples cannot resolve their differences within a reasonable time, so that they can move on with their lives. Parties are under a duty to make full disclosure of their means at the time of their divorce, even if matters are agreed. If you have reason to believe that the other party did not make full disclosure, then you should think very carefully, and take the best available legal advice, before re-opening the case.

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Images: Operation Desert Storm by Tech. Sgt. David McLeod [Public domain], Boris Yelsin by [CC BY 3.0 or CC BY 4.0], Freddy Mercury by Carl Lender [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], all via Wikimedia Commons, and The Silence of the Lambs, by varun suresh, licensed under CC BY 2.0.