Q: My husband and I have been locked down together at home since the coronavirus pandemic began. During this time undeniable cracks have surfaced in our twelve-year marriage. We both have high-flying jobs that often result in us being apart for weeks on end, which is probably why the cracks have taken so long to appear. I think we are probably heading for divorce. I think my husband thinks so too, and I have a suspicion that with this in mind he is deliberately ‘syphoning off’ some of his assets in readiness to reduce his liabilities in a divorce settlement. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?
A: This is an entirely possible scenario, but you may need to gain evidence to back up such an accusation. If the situation gets as far as divorce, both you and your husband would have to make a full disclosure about your joint and individual assets. At that stage it is certainly not unheard of for one or other party to be less than truthful about their financial situation or try to hide some of their assets, with a view to reducing the total value of marital assets and subsequently the value of a potential settlement. The Court would take a dim view of such behaviour.
In some instances, parties have also been known to deliberately spend large sums of money to reduce the financial pot out of spite. This is known as the ‘dissipation of marital assets’. If any of your husband’s asset disposals could be proven to be a deliberate attempt to reduce the marital financial pot the court could make a freezing order. As with all complex divorce matters, your best course of action is to seek tailored legal advice as early as possible.
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