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Defaulting husband must give all his fortune to his divorced wife

A hospital consultant who refused to pay any maintenance or child support has been ordered to hand over his entire fortune to his ex-wife.

The case involved consultant anaesthetist Essam Aly and his ex-wife Enas. The couple married in 2002 and had a son and a daughter. They divorced in 2011. Mr Aly then moved to Bahrain where he started a relationship with another woman with whom he has since had another child.

The court heard that since 2012, he had ignored the requirements of the divorce settlement and refused to make any payments to his wife or for his children.

He was described in court as a “serial defaulter” who had “abdicated responsibility” for his family and it was feared that he would never make any payments again.

Last year, the High Court awarded Mrs Aly all of his assets, including the proceeds from the sale of their £250,000 home and £310,000 held in bank accounts.

Mr Aly appealed saying that it was unfair that his former wife should be given all of his fortune. His barrister argued that the “court had an obligation to consider the husband’s needs”.

However, the Court of Appeal rejected this argument and upheld the judge’s decision. Giving judgment, Lord Justice McCombe said the judge had few other options. He added: “What was the judge supposed to do, faced with a serial defaulter, to make proper provision for this family? The wife is looking after the children and the father has washed his hands of them.”

It’s a highly unusual judgment but has been welcomed by most family lawyers because it shows that the courts can take decisive action when faced with intransigent spouses who try to dodge their responsibilities and refuse to comply with divorce settlements.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.