Struggling husband applies too late to amend divorce settlement

A husband who was struggling financially has been denied permission to appeal against a financial remedies order because he was 15 months out of time.

The case involved a couple who divorced in 2016. The husband was a managing director and shareholder of two companies.

In July 2018, following a three-day hearing, the judge held that the husband should pay the wife a lump sum of £3.09 million by 2023, periodical payments, 25% of any net bonus received and 50% of any dividends received.

Permission to appeal was refused in August 2018.

The couple agreed to the terms of an order in March 2019. In May 2019, the husband requested judicial reconsideration of the terms of the periodical payments provision, which was varied.

In November 2019, the husband sought permission to appeal against the lump sum, periodical payments and costs, seeking relief from sanctions as the appeal was out of time.

He submitted that he could not afford to meet the terms of the order and the judge had failed to consider its affordability. It also exceeded the wife's needs.

The Family Court ruled against him because he was more than 15 months out of time.

The delay was serious and lacking in any good explanation. It was clear that he had been aware of his right to appeal since August 2018.

The delay could only be regarded as intentional. The litigation had been ongoing since 2016 and the effect of the delay had been clearly prejudicial to the wife. By agreeing the terms of the order, the husband had allowed the wife to believe that all issues had been resolved.

It was not in the interests of justice to permit an application for permission to appeal to be brought so far out of time against a background of intentional unexplained delay.

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

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