Jail Threat for Man Who Failed to Cooperate in Divorce Proceedings

Divorce is normally a difficult time for all concerned and the financial arrangements can be very contentious. Normally, problems revolve around the failure to provide accurate disclosure of assets, but on some occasions there is a total failure to cooperate.

However, as a recent case shows, refusing entirely to engage in the court process is not a viable option. In the case in point, a man refused to lodge the Form E, which is the form used to disclose one's financial circumstances for the purpose of arriving at a financial settlement on divorce.

In May 2016, the man was ordered to provide details to the court by 8 July. He did not do so. A court hearing was called on 3 August for him to explain his failure to comply with the court's ruling but he failed to attend.

On 10 October, he was served with an order to attend court on 19 October in order to explain himself and provide the required information. He failed to attend that hearing also.

The judge found him in contempt of court and ordered that he should be sentenced to three months in jail, suspended for a period to give him time to 'purge his contempt' by providing the necessary information.

If legal proceedings are under way, adopting an obstructive attitude will have negative consequences. Judges have little time for those who take a non-cooperative approach and where this is carried to extremes, as in this case, jailing the offender for contempt of court is an option.
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Chris Taylor
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