Sian Kenkre from our family team comments on a recent interesting case about a husband who moved to Bahrain a year before they were separated and did not give any support to his two children from a previous marriage. The Birmingham Family Court ordered Essam Aly to hand over £550,000 of his assets to be transferred to his wife and two children. Sian Kenkre from our Family Department comments about the case.
The case concerned the husband, a Consultant Anaesthetist and wife, a GP from Derbyshire. They were married and had two children, a son and daughter, before separating in 2011. The husband moved to Bahrain the following year. The Court heard that he had started a relationship with a woman, undergone an Islamic marriage ceremony and had another child.
The wife complained that she had effectively received nothing from her husband since he left Britain.
The wife’s case was that he had ‘abdicated responsibility’ for her and his children. The Court found the husband to be a ‘serial defaulter’ who had failed to make proper provision for his family and used the discretion inherent in divorce cases to depart from equality and award all available resources to the wife.
Sian Kenkre say’s ‘This is being hailed as an exceptional case and it does highlight again that the distribution of wealth on divorce in England and Wales remains a highly discretionary area.’
The family court approaches cases with a view to achieving fairness for both parties. This can often mean dividing assets equally. However in this case the only way to achieve fairness was to award the wife all of the assets to ensure the needs of the family were met.
It is being seen by many as a straight –forward decision by the court to secure a financial future for the weaker party with the husband retaining the unfettered use of his income and earning potential.
It is worthy of note that the husband was residing overseas and was out of the reach of the Child Support Agency and the Courts of England and Wales and is a useful reminder of the flexibility of the family courts. Parties who cause difficulties in meeting maintenance payments or do not pay them at all should take note that it may cost them a lot more in capital up-front.
At the Wilkes Partnership, we have one of the leading Family teams in the region, with nationally recognised, leading individuals in divorce, if you have any queries about this case or would like a free consultation, Please contact Sian Kenkre or Aarone Keene on 0121 733 8000.