Wife uncovers Husband’s hidden assets and recovers her costs

| Written by Eileen Pembridge

Husband (H) and Wife (W) divorced after 20 years of marriage. W was awarded roughly half of the combined assets, including half the income from ‘lost’ bonds if they were found and had any value. H falsely maintained they were lost and not producing any income.

Background

The parties were married for 20 years. H was a successful international businessman and W a mother and homemaker. Divorce proceedings commenced in 2005 and at the time of the final financial hearing in 2007 the known assets were worth approximately £3.5 million.

Before the final hearing we discovered through applications to third parties that H had been concealing substantial assets in Jersey and he denied the beneficial ownership of several family businesses to which the concealed assets were tied.

At the time of the final hearing H claimed that a set of Bank of Nigeria Bonds had been lost and were not producing any income. It was ordered that, if the bonds were found and if they were of any value, the value should be shared equally with W. H continued to deny the existence of any income from the bonds, despite evidence to the contrary.

H made numerous spurious applications and appeals in an attempt to frustrate W and delay making payment to her of the money to which she was entitled.

How we helped our client

Successful applications were made to freeze H’s assets both in the UK and in Jersey and he was found to be the beneficial owner of the businesses during a five day hearing.

Orders were made for the production of documents by the bank administering the concealed assets and their true value was eventually ascertained. H continued to deny any income from the bonds, resulting in a further three day hearing in the High Court. H was ordered to pay half the income to W.

H still refused to make payment as ordered so we made an application for Judgment Summons and obtained an order for his suspended committal to prison for 6 weeks. He then paid in full.

We eventually obtained a Civil Restraint Order to prevent H from making any further applications within the proceedings without prior authority.

H was (unusually in the Family Division) ordered to pay W’s costs and we have enforced those costs orders on her behalf.

Case handler

Eileen Pembridge has over 40 years of experience in Family Law matters and guides clients through all aspects which need to be sorted when a relationship is breaking down.

She was a former chair of the Law Society’s Family Law committee and has contributed to law reform. She set up Fisher Meredith nearly 36 years ago and now heads a large team of dedicated lawyers with a wide range of skills.

Eileen will take on the wives of difficult husbands and those hiding assets or being threatening, the difficult wives of men striving to be fair whilst being treated as cash machines – and everyone in between.

Case handler comments

Eileen said “It was more than five years after W first instructed me that we finally reached a satisfactory conclusion. In that time the team and I built a strong bond with her as we helped her to achieve what a judge had deemed she was owed from an extremely difficult husband. We have since been able to advise W in relation to her current relationship, her children and her will, having built a relationship of trust with her”.

Client testimonial

“It’s been a long journey, but Fisher Meredith were with me all the way, supporting, advising and making sure that I, and in particular the children, got a fair and just outcome.

Fisher Meredith are to be commended for their work and are highly recommended to others with similar cases”.