Judge rejects bankrupt husband’s plea for release from divorce settlement
The businessman who claimed that bankruptcy should free him from the obligation to pay the reminder of his divorce settlement has lost his case.
The Hon Mr Justice Hildyard rejected the arguments made by Alexander McRoberts, 54. Commenting on the businessman’s tax returns, which indicated that he had spent more than £100,000 on travel and living expenses in one year, the judge said:
“These indications do not encourage the conclusion that Mr McRoberts has done everything he can to discharge his obligations to his ex-wife; they do encourage a sense that his finances may not be entirely transparent.”
In addition, the court had been shown pages from Mr McRoberts’ passport “showing stamps for destinations, such as the Maldives at Christmas-time, which do not appear to be in countries where he said he had been doing business”.
The judge said that, while Mr McRoberts currently lacked an “income stream”, his finances may improve in the future, enabling him to settle the debt to his ex-wife. Therefore there was “no special or particular reason” why Mr McRoberts’ divorce settlement should be an exception to the default legal position that divorce settlement obligations do not disappear when a bankruptcy is discharged.
He was ordered to pay his former wife’s legal costs of almost £9,000.
Mr McRoberts and his wife Mandy were divorced in 2003. She was awarded their matrimonial home and a lump sum of £450,000, which he agreed to pay in installments. However, he went bankrupt in 2006, by which point he had paid only £211,000 of the debt. The bankruptcy was discharged the following year.
Photo by EJP Photo under a Creative Commons licence
Share this post
Get free family law updates
Marilyn Stowe’s new book: expert advice on all aspects of divorce, just 99p!
Divorce & Splitting Up by Marilyn Stowe is the essential how-to book for anyone who is getting divorced or splitting up from a partner. Read more >>
"A must buy that really opens your eyes to what is involved if you are considering or going through a divorce." - Amanda Brown
"This will answer your questions in a way that non-lawyers can understand." - Miss P.
"Don't get divorced without it. I read this book despite being divorced for more than 10 years. I wish I'd had this book to hand at the time. Great examples, simple to read and understand." - Jamie
"This really has helped me to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I will come out of it a stronger person." - J
Marilyn Stowe on SKY News & ITV This Morning
- Andrew on English family law à la française by guest blogger Melanie Bataillard-Samuel
- Marilyn Stowe on Financial Dispute Resolution – look out for these stumbling blocks
- John on Financial Dispute Resolution – look out for these stumbling blocks
- JamesB on English family law à la française by guest blogger Melanie Bataillard-Samuel
- Andrew on Family courts may struggle to find expert witnesses following fee cut, social worker claims
Subscribe & Follow
In the Media
Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
Contact Stowe Family Law
These downloads accompany Marilyn Stowe's latest book: Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer. After opening, right click to save to your computer.
For more free downloads, visit the Downloads section.