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The court’s expectation is that parties should have provided to one another full and frank financial disclosure. This is normally done through the exchange of a Form E, which is a statement setting out their financial assets, liabilities, pension and income information. There are instances where one spouse may consider that the other is not fully disclosing their assets. In such cases, questions can be raised either pre-proceedings or during the course of proceedings. If a party believes that there is a risk of their assets being disposed of, the court has powers to intervene.

Preserving Assets

This is a complicated subject, and can lead to expensive litigation costs and entrench parties’ positions. If a party believes that their spouse is intending to dispose of assets, there is certain evidence that has to be shown: in particular, evidence that a transaction is about to happen (this could be a document or a detailed statement about a conversation held) and that it was intended to defeat a party’s financial claim if the spouse is not prevented from carrying out that transaction. In such a case, an application to the court under Section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, can be made to the court. However, these cases are difficult to litigate. The court will only make an order to freeze the transaction if there is a likely case and a real risk that there will be a disposal of the asset, and if it is just and convenient order to make.

A Section 37 application can be made by giving notice to your spouse, but if time is of the essence, may be made without notice.

How to I make an urgent application?

If there is a real risk and concern with evidence of an imminent transaction, you have to show the court that the matter is one of exceptional urgency. The courts have directed that a short notice should be provided to the other spouse and if no notice is given at all, you will have to claim that there is literally no time to give notice.

Forensic Accounting of Assets

Divorce can be an exhausting process for spouses. Coupled with the emotions of a breakdown, there is also the added stress of trying to work out what the family finances are, and show transparency of assets in the matrimonial pot. This may be assisted through forensic accounting.

What is forensic accounting?

Whilst a solicitor will advise you as to the law, an expert, normally a forensic accountant, could be instructed in cases which involve:-

  • Business and valuations of a business
  • Multiple bank accounts
  • Multiple streams of income or high income levels
  • Historical transactions

The early instruction of a forensic accountant assists you to make the right decisions and ensure that the final settlement is fair.

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