Wife awarded all the marital assets in a divorce settlement
The recent case of Mr Essam Aly and Mrs Enas Aly is a sharp reminder that the courts in England and Wales are prepared to depart from the starting point of an equal division of assets on divorce, if there is good cause to show it is fair and reasonable to do so.
The court heard that Mr Aly, an anaesthetist, left his wife in 2011. He moved to Bahrain, whereupon he remarried under Islamic law and has not paid anything by way to child maintenance to Mrs Aly since 2012.
The court also heard that Mr Aly had shown himself to be “unwilling” to provide any support and was described as a “serial defaulter”.
In giving judgement last year, the trial judge Justice Mark Rogers awarded Mrs Aly the proceeds of sale of their £250,000 home, plus another £310,000 held in the bank.
Mr Aly appealed but the Court of Appeal upheld the original order, with Lord Justice McFarlane stating that Mr Aly had effectively “abdicated responsibility” for his wife and their two children and, in “looking to the future, there was no expectation that she could look to him for any future payment of maintenance and it was therefore necessary for her to achieve an award representing effectively most of the capital assets.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in our Family team.