Family Judge bans an ex-wife from bringing any further ‘bitter and intense’ applications at Court against her ex-husband


Family Judge bans an ex-wife from bringing any further ‘bitter and intense’ applications at Court against her ex-husband

In a recent case heard within the family courts, a Judge has imposed a ban on an ex-wife, (Mrs Welch) from bringing any further claims against her ex-husband (Mr. Welch).

During the initial divorce and financial proceedings in which the division of the matrimonial assets were determined and financial remedy orders were made, Mrs Welch had the benefit of legal representation.  She later dis-instructed her solicitors however and began to represent herself.

The last application Mrs Welch made to the Court before being banned from bringing any further applications against her ex-husband, was for an increase in her maintenance order which, at the time, required Mr Welch to pay £12,000 per annum to her.  Mrs Welch was looking to rely on her allegation that Mr Welch had been dishonest in the financial proceedings and had misled the courts.  Mrs Welch brought this application, despite being granted no permission to appeal following her previous failed attempt to persuade the courts that her ex-husband had been dishonest in financial remedy proceedings.

In addition to this final application, Mrs Welch had also brought numerous other applications at Court against her ex-husband, none of which were successful and subsequently resulted in numerous orders being made against her to cover her ex-husband’s legal fees of £75,000 relating to the applications she had brought against him.

The order made, preventing Mrs Welch from bringing any further applications against her husband, is thought to be the first of its kind made in financial remedy proceedings. In addition to the ban, the wife’s maintenance order was also suspended.  Mrs Welch is prohibited from bringing any further applications at Court, (except an application for her maintenance to be resumed/varied), for a period of 2 years.

Couples going through their own divorce and financial remedy proceedings may do well to bear in mind the outcome in this case in conjunction with the orders recently made in the cases of Sharland and Gohil.  In these cases, two ex-wives did successfully prove that their ex-husbands had misled the courts and as such they have been awarded the right to bring their financial claims back to the family courts to be re-assessed.  

In the cases of Sharland and Gohil, the Supreme Court was sending a very clear message to all couples in financial remedy disputes that dishonesty would not be tolerated.  If we look at the outcome of those cases in conjunction with the outcome in this case of Welch, it is clear that whilst allegations of dishonesty will be taken seriously, the applicant does need to have sufficient proof to support their claims and, any ‘bitter’ attempts at litigation with no evidence to support, will be frowned upon by the Courts and applicants run the risk of facing severe penalties themselves.

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Relationships do fall apart all too frequently but that doesn't make it any easier for the people involved. Inevitably, it's an emotional and stressful situation, and the down-to-earth, objective approach of an experienced adviser will help you get through it.

For more information please contact Gail Brooks, Associate, Private Client - Family.

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Published: 20 Nov 2015

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