Wife given permission to appeal divorce settlement

Divorce|January 15th 2015

The former wife of a Jordanian has been granted permission to appeal her financial settlement.

In Chapman v Kawash, the couple in question were married “for a relatively few years” in the words of Mr Justice Holman at the High Court. They had no children. When the marriage “broke down”, the wife filed for divorce and a financial settlement, initially acting in person – ie without legal representation.

The wife was not satisfied with the husband’s disclosure of his assets, suspecting that he owned “a valuable piece of land” in Jordan, although he denied this. Despite his denial, the wife instructed a Jordanian solicitor to investigate her suspicions.

Nevertheless, the couple went on to reach agree a financial settlement and a ‘consent’ (financial) order was agreed. This involved the man paying his former wife a single lump sum of US $100,000 in final settlement.

Unfortunately, the wife subsequently received a report from the lawyer in Jordan stating that the husband did indeed own land in the Middle Eastern nation.

The wife instructed solicitors and applied for permission to appeal the settlement she had previously reached., submitting documents which valued at the land reportedly owned by her former husband at £1,600,000. Her application was made ‘out of time’ – i.e. past the legal deadline.

In his judgement on the wife’s application for permission to appeal, Mr Justice Holman noted:

“Clearly, the sum involved is very significant. As I have said, the essential presentation, on the basis of which the consent order was made, was that both parties had negligible capital. The difference between having nothing and having £1.6 million is vast.”

The wife, said the Judge, had clearly held significant suspicions regarding the land in Jordan even before receiving the solicitor’s report, and her earlier agreement to the settlement may have represented an attempt to compromise on the basis of her knowledge of the situation at the time. Nevertheless, there did appear to have been non-disclosure of a valuable asset, he continued. and the woman’s appeal therefore had a “realistic prospect of success”.

Read the judgement here.

Photo of Jordan by Historyfeelings via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

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  1. Andrew says:

    What is the authority for saying that the husband must personally attend the hearing of the appeal? I can see how a judge can say that if he does not attend for cross-examination his statement will not be read, but I don’t see how he can say that he must attend.

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