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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

30 APR 2009

Annulment of Bankruptcy in Ancillary Relief Proceedings

Robin Powell and Mungo Lowe, Barristers, Tanfield Chambers and 13 Old Square Chambers

We live in interesting times. When the financial strains imposed by a downturn in the economy are the final straw in a marriage and the divorce writs fly some husbands try to thwart their wives' applications for ancillary relief by disposing of their assets in various artificial ways. One extreme method is for the husband to petition for his own bankruptcy. No creditor will have notice of the petition. Usually the first time they will become aware of the same is when the bankrupt's trustee in bankruptcy invites creditors to submit proofs of debt. Consequently, it is unlikely that a wife will have the opportunity to oppose a debtor's petition.

What can a wife do in these circumstances? If she believes that her husband, in fact, had the means to pay his debts and his true intention was to defeat her claim for ancillary relief, her remedy may be to seek to annul the bankruptcy.

To read the rest of this article, see May [2009] Family Law journal.

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