What can I do if my ex is frittering away assets?
A recent press headline concerning an Israeli Jewish couple, Maya Kanev-Lipinski, 44, and Shahar Lipinski, 45 has caught my eye. Mrs Justice May in the High Court found that Mrs Kanev-Lipinski's claims that her ex-husband had frittered away some of their £18m fortune was down to her "fear, suspicion and dislike" of her ex-husband. She was therefore ordered to pay the costs of around £1m as her allegations were unfounded.
The case is a reminder that if you believe your ex is frivolously dissipating assets you must be able to base your case on evidence. It is possible to apply for injunctions to stop your ex from being able to use their assets, for example bank accounts can be frozen. The family court can make such an injunction if court proceedings to resolve financial matters have been instigated and where the court is satisfied that your ex is about to dispose of property with the intention of frustrating or impeding your claims. Therefore, if there is enough money in the overall matrimonial pot such that if one asset was disposed of there would still be enough to satisfy your claims then making an application for an injunction is usually not a good idea. You would fail the test of showing your claims would be frustrated by any disposal.
You must submit evidence to the court that the disposal is likely and that your application is not simply a precautionary measure. Such applications are often urgent but need to be given considerable thought beforehand. As Mrs Kanev-Lipinkski found out, if you bring such an application and you are unsuccessful, you face the possibility of paying your own legal fees plus those of your ex.
This is an area fraught with pitfalls and specialist family law advice is needed if you are considering any injunction application. If you would like to know more about injunctions or another aspect of family law and how Blake Morgan can assist separating families, please contact me or another member of the family team for further advice and information.