fbpx

Given a Raw Deal by a Divorce Judge? Don't Just Sit on Your Hands

18th February 2021 By

Many divorcees feel that judges have given them a raw deal when dividing up marital assets. They may or may not be right about that but, as one case strikingly showed, it makes much better sense for them to seek swift professional advice than to sit on their hands dwelling on what might have been.

The case concerned a middle-aged couple whose relationship lasted for almost 15 years and resulted in two children prior to their divorce. Their assets comprised over £400,000 yielded from the sale of their former matrimonial home and the husband’s shares in two companies, which were valued at about £6.2 million.

Following a hearing, a district judge ordered the husband to pay the wife a lump sum of over £3 million within five years. Pending payment, he was required to pay interest on that sum at 4 per cent over base rate. Together with £4,750 a month in maintenance, he was ordered to pay her 25 per cent of any bonuses he received and 50 per cent of any dividends. She was awarded 75 per cent of the proceeds of the property sale and he was required to pay the children’s school fees.

In applying for permission to appeal against the district judge’s order, the husband argued that he had suffered a grave injustice and that he could not afford to comply with it. He asserted, amongst other things, that the district judge had taken precisely half of the value of his shareholdings in two private companies without any indication as to how he would be able to raise the required lump sum within five years or at all.

Refusing his application, however, a more senior judge noted that, under the rules of procedure which govern family justice, he had 21 days from the date of the district judge’s decision in which to seek permission to appeal. His notice of appeal had in fact been issued more than 15 months after that deadline passed. The delay was serious and there was no good explanation for it.

Noting that a right of appeal is not something that can be stored up in case it might be of future use, the judge could find no good reason for extending the deadline. The husband’s complaints, whilst arguable, were not overwhelming, and the delay in lodging his appeal had caused clear prejudice to the wife in that she had been prevented from moving on with her life.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Challenge to Will's Validity Rejected by High Court

12th April, 2024 By

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed as you wish is to have your will professionally drafted by a qualified solicitor. In a recent case, a challenge to the validity of an elderly man's will was dismissed by the High Court. The man had previously made a will in 2011, leaving most of his estate equally to his three children. In 2018, by which time one of his sons had predeceased him, he made a further will, leaving the residue of his estate to his other son...

Defiance of Family Court Orders Will Always End Badly

10th April, 2024 By

Custodial sentences very rarely come into play in the family courts. Where there have been repeated breaches of court orders, however, judges may have little choice but to clamp down. This was illustrated in the High Court during committal proceedings that stemmed from a child custody dispute. The background to the case involved contested proceedings between the father and mother of a young child. These concluded with a court order establishing that the child – a daughter – would live with the mother. Three months later the daughter travelled with...

Claim for SDLT Relief on Annex Unsuccessful

8th April, 2024 By

When buying a property consisting of more than one residence, it may be possible to claim multiple dwellings relief (MDR) against Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, there are certain conditions that must be met for an MDR claim to succeed, as a recent case illustrates. A property was purchased for £1.8 million. Prior to the purchase, the buyer had agreed with the seller that he would be allowed to carry out works to construct a self-contained annex at the property. The buyer's SDLT return included a claim for MDR...

Divorce – Alleged Bigamy Raised in Financial Remedies Dispute

5th April, 2024 By

The issue of bigamy and its potential impact on a person's ability to seek financial remedies in a divorce came under the legal spotlight recently. A husband made an application to strike out his wife's financial remedies claim on the basis that she had committed bigamy and deceived him into a marriage when she knew she was not free to marry. This deceit, he claimed, was so egregious that, as a matter of public policy, she should be debarred from pursuing any claim for financial remedies against him. The husband based...