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'Serial Defaulter' Divorcee Stripped of 100% of His Assets

In a decision which stands as a stern warning to divorcees who refuse to cooperate, a hospital consultant who washed his hands of his ex-wife and two children when he moved abroad to start a new life has been stripped of 100% of his UK assets.

The anaesthetist separated from his wife at the end of their nine-year marriage and moved to Bahrain, where he was out of the reach of the British courts and the Child Support Agency. He had since remarried and had another child. For three years he had paid not a penny in maintenance to his original family in England.

In those circumstances, a family judge awarded his ex-wife the entirety of the assets which the former couple had built up during the marriage, which were valued at over £550,000. In challenging that decision before the Court of Appeal, the husband’s lawyers attacked it as an extraordinary departure from the principle of equal division which is applied in most divorce cases. It was submitted that he intended to return to the UK in due course and that no consideration had been given to his needs.

However, in dismissing his appeal, the Court noted that there was no expectation that the husband – who was described as a serial defaulter – would pay maintenance in the future. The wife bore the entire responsibility and financial burden of bringing up the children and the judge had rightly given priority to their welfare.