I posted last week about a case that has recently come before the Courts where the husband, a Mr McRoberts, had been made bankrupt. He had asked the Court to order that the money that he owed his former wife, following a financial order made on their divorce, did not survive his bankruptcy. The ordinary position is that that lump sum orders awarded in divorce proceedings do not come to an end on bankruptcy or on discharge from bankruptcy.
Mr Justice Hildyard rejected the claim, and is reported in the Telegraph as saying that “there was “no special or particular reason” why the “ordinary or default position” … should not apply.”
No doubt the Judge’s decision was helped by evidence produced by Mrs McRoberts that Mr McRoberts had been enjoying exotic holidays, including visiting the Maldives at Christmas, which could not be attributed to business reasons.
His tax returns showed that he had spend in excess of £100,000 in a year on travel and subsistence. Taking this into account, the Judge found that whilst Mr McRoberts’ current business ventures had come to an end, this did not mean that his situation would not improve in the future. Furthermore, the expenditure on travel indicated that he had not done all he could to meet his obligations to his former wife, and also encouraged “a sense that his finances may not be entirely transparent.”
This decision will come as a relief to family lawyers and their clients, as it was feared that had the ruling gone the other way unscrupulous spouses may have used it to their advantage, by petitioning for bankruptcy to try to avoid orders made on divorce.
Image by Benolt Mahe under a Creative Commons Licence