It goes without saying that anyone involved in court proceedings should comply with the orders of the court.
And a recently-published Family Court judgment demonstrates what might happen if a party chooses not to comply.
The judgment concerned the final hearing of a wife’s financial remedies application on divorce.
It should have been a reasonably straightforward case.
But there was a problem, as the judge explained at the beginning of his judgment. As he said, the husband had been dishonest throughout, failing to comply with court orders, failing to provide relevant financial information and documentation, and flagrantly breaching undertakings given to the court.
And since the parties separated in 2010 the husband had been taking steps to put assets beyond the reach of the wife.
It was, said the judge, one of the most flagrant breaches of the duty of full and frank disclosure that has come before the courts.
The failure by the husband to disclose details of his assets left the judge with no alternative but to make inferences as to what assets the husband possessed, from the limited information available.
The wife claimed that the husband had assets worth at least £5.5 million, which had disappeared. She sought an order that she receive half.
The husband, on the other hand, claimed that he had no assets, only debts. He asked the court to simply make a clean break order, with no provision for the wife.
So did the husband have assets that he had failed to disclose?
The judge found that he did. There was evidence that the husband had removed assets, he had failed to comply with orders requiring him to provide information regarding his assets, and he was currently living in Spain, with no visible means of support, which indicated he had undisclosed assets.
As to the value of the husband’s assets, the judge unsurprisingly preferred the wife’s version of events, given the husband’s dishonesty. In other words, the judge accepted that the husband had assets worth at least £5.5 million.
In the circumstances, the judge decided that the wife was entitled to everything that she had asked for.
The full report of the judgment can be found here.
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