S (the Wife) v T (the Husband)

JurisdictionJersey
CourtRoyal Court
JudgeJudy Marie O'Sullivan
Judgment Date05 December 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] JRC 223B
Date05 December 2016

[2016] JRC 223B

ROYAL COURT

(Family)

Before:

Judy Marie O'Sullivan, Registrar, Family Division.

In the Matter of S v T (Matrimonial)

And in the Matter of Matrimonial Causes Rules 2005

Between
S (the Wife)
Petitioner
and
T (the Husband)
Respondent

Advocate S. C. Thomas for the Petitioner.

Advocate B. J. Corbett for the Respondent.

Authorities

Matrimonial Causes Rules 2005.

Matrimonial Causes (Jersey) Law 1949.

In The Matter of XX [2010] JRC 115C .

Rayden and Jackson 18th edition.

In The Matter of ZZ [2010] JRC 134A .

TL v ML and Ors (Ancillary Relief: Claim against assets of extended family) [2006] 1 FLR 1263 .

C v S [2003] JRC 104 .

K v P [2009] JLR Note 42 .

BD v FD [2014] EWHC 4443 (Fam) .

Matrimonial — application for interim maintenance sought by the husband.

REASONS
THE REGISTRAR:
1

This is an application by the respondent husband for interim maintenance. He seeks £4,500 per month until the conclusion of financial proceedings. The petitioner wife maintains that the husband has failed to demonstrate his need for interim maintenance and therefore requests that the application be dismissed.

Background
2

The parties married in 1995 and separated in 2016. The husband is 54 years old and wife 56 years old. There is one child of the parties, A, who is 19. The husband moved out of the former matrimonial home in May 2016 — there is a dispute about the reasons for this—and the husband moved to England, taking a tenancy of a property in England in July 2016. The wife commenced divorce proceedings in June 2016 on the basis of the husband's unreasonable behaviour. The husband chose not to defend the divorce but denied the particulars of unreasonable behaviour and in August 2016 filed behaviour particulars he chose to accept. It is understood that having been viewed as defended and the matter going before the Deputy Bailiff to then be adjourned, the divorce proceedings will now proceed on an undefended basis. As no application for a Greffier's certificate on an undefended basis has yet been applied for, it is unclear when a Decree Nisi will be pronounced.

3

Affidavits of means and documents in support are due to be exchanged by the 16 th December, 2016, and there is due to be a Case Review Hearing on the 27 th March, 2017.

The husband's financial circumstances
4

The husband received £250,000 from the wife after 19 th December, 2014. The husband maintains that he received this sum for assisting the wife in her business but this is denied by the wife who says it was a gift. After the wife sold her company, Company B, to Company C, the husband was engaged by the purchaser, Company C, on a six month consultancy contract at a rate of £7,500 gross per month for six months. He therefore received an additional £45,000 gross, which nets down to £36,000 after tax. In addition the husband received £21,448.72 from J Lawyers Client Account on 19 th December, 2014, from Company D understood to be as “back payment of salary.” The husband therefore received a total of around £307,448.72 from December 2014. It was submitted by the wife that he had assets prior to this as well. As no documentation has been provided it is not possible to verify what the husband's financial position actually is. However Advocate Thomas said he has no immediate need for income; Advocate Corbett submits his need for income is immediate.

5

It appears to be the husband's case that £250,000 has been spent save that he currently has £91,000 in a Jersey account and £3,000 in a UK account. He has paid rent in advance until June 2017 amounting to £28,661.92 on a property (“Property E”) in England, he has paid some Legal fees (May – August 2016) of £23,150.62 and he enrolled on a course paying fees of £15,240. However he now says he is paying the latter on a monthly basis. He has paid debts of £15,000, bought a motor bike for an unstated amount, bought furniture for an unstated amount, purchased a second hand car for an unstated amount, paid removal costs from Jersey for an unstated amount and paid for general living expenses for an unstated amount. No documentation has been provided. According to the wife he already owned a number of cars and motorbikes. He is in a relationship but I was not told he is cohabiting. The wife contends he has funds previously held in investments with Company F, and Company G and at March 2015 in bank accounts and may still have a variety of ISAs, bank accounts, bonds, post office funds, premium bonds and shareholdings. As disclosure has not been provided I am unable to say whether this is indeed the case but, the husband's advocate did not specifically dispute this aside from saying that as he had sworn an affidavit the Court could rely on the matters in his sworn document.

6

I am told the husband has no income and is on a course. The wife's advocate submitted that he has chosen to embark on this course rather than seeking employment, even though he puts himself forward as commercially astute. He said the husband has chosen not to earn money. He is due an army pension but this will not become payable for six years. Advocate Thomas questioned why he had not produced any evidence of his expenditure. Advocate Thomas submitted that he had enrolled on the course in the autumn knowing what his resources were and with a timetable already having been set for ancillary relief, so the presumption was he could cope financially. Advocate Corbett stated that his Form 16 was filed in August 2016 and did indicate he was seeking interim maintenance. It was submitted on behalf of the wife that he was offered the chance to live in a property in England close to his family. The wife is sceptical that he has paid his rent of nearly £29,000 rent in advance for Property E in England, the rental of which was £2,150 per month. Her contention is that it is not how the rental market operates; he has provided no evidence beyond his bare assertion that he was required to enter into what would appear to be an uncommercial arrangement. In addition it was submitted on her behalf that the cost of the property would appear to be inconsistent with similar properties on the same street and this does appear to be the case. If he has so paid, and his affidavit says he has done so, then clearly any rental payments do not need to be taken into account as part of his overall expenditure. Advocate Corbett said that the property is a “reasonable” size compared with the 7 bedroom property in which the wife is living. The husband says he has not maintained his standard of living but at the same time has not got a student lifestyle. The husband contends that in any case he was “required” to leave the former matrimonial home.

7

With regard to the course, it was only when questioned that Advocate Corbett said that the husband has been offered a training contract with a Jersey firm commencing in the summer/early autumn of 2017 in Jersey, but no documentation was provided about this. He had already done a professional course so when asked why he needed to do the further course as well Advocate Corbett said that the course was of more use for a Jersey firm as it gives back office skills. The husband has experience of commercial life. He has a firm offer but is receiving no financial assistance from the firm concerned. The wife's advocate submitted that a degree of scepticism was needed not only about why he embarked on a course, but whether he actually had an offer of a training contract – the name of the firm was not provided — and as to the amount of capital he says he has left.

8

The husband is not claiming interim maintenance to cover his legal costs. It is submitted that his legal fees are high due to the conduct of the wife as she refused to accept his Form 4 statement that he was not defending the proceedings. Advocate Corbett asked for an order of £3,690.50 in respect of legal costs regarding the defended proceedings. However the matter before me is interim maintenance. Various other matters were raised by Advocate Corbett such as the wife hiring a private detective, a large amount of correspondence, issues regarding Hildebrand rules and the wife, the husband says, threatening to “destroy” him. These are not issues for the interim maintenance hearing but the husband is apparently concerned that his capital will be depleted by rising legal costs, and the matter in respect of sorting out ancillary relief will be delayed by the wife. Whether this is or is not the case, I am sure I do not need to remind the parties of Rule 47 of the Matrimonial Causes Rules 2005.

9

I was told by Advocate Corbett that the husband is due £54,500 held by J Lawyers and was referred to a lengthy e-mail dated the 12 th October, 2016, from J to the lawyers for the husband and wife. Advocate Thomas submitted that the wife is beneficially entitled to the money. In the e-mail it states however, “that the true destination of the funds would need to be resolved as one of the assets in connection with the divorce.” I do not propose to deal with this as the hearing before me is for interim maintenance.

10

The husband has provided a schedule showing expenditure of £12,503 per month but is claiming £4,500 for interim maintenance. The wife, in her affidavit sworn on the 21 st September, 2016, analyses at paragraphs 42 to 47 his schedule of expenditure and considers he only requires £2,428 per month on an interim basis excluding legal fees.

The wife's financial circumstances
11

The wife accepts that she received £22,885,915 when she sold Company B to Company C. 50% of the net proceeds in shares were held in restricted stock that do not vest until the 19 th December, 2016, and she does not have access to them until the end of January 2017. The capital has funded family outgoings and £2.245 million was used to clear debts including on the former matrimonial home. However the majority of the money has...

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1 cases
  • S v T
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    • 22 May 2018
    ...JRC 097A . Matrimonial Causes Act 1975. O v O [2005] JLR 535 . de Lasala v de Lasala [1979] 2 All ER 1146 . S -v- T (Matrimonial) [2016] JRC 223B . Rayden and Jackson 18th edition. TL v ML and Ors (Ancillary Relief: Claim against assets of extended family) [2006] FLR 1263 . Matrimonial —......

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