Q&As

Where no divorce petition has been filed, what are the options for a spouse to recover assets where the other party has withdrawn savings from both personal and business accounts? Can an application to set aside dealings under section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 only be made where there are existing proceedings?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 09/04/2018

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where no divorce petition has been filed, what are the options for a spouse to recover assets where the other party has withdrawn savings from both personal and business accounts? Can an application to set aside dealings under section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 only be made where there are existing proceedings?

Pursuant to section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973), the court may make an order setting aside a disposition, or make an order restraining a party from making a disposition or transfer out of the jurisdiction of property. In order to make such an order, the court must be satisfied that the party made the disposition, or intended to make the disposition, in order to defeat a claim for financial relief. An application for an order under MCA 1973, s 37 can only be made where proceedings for financial relief are brought by one person against another (MCA 1973, s 37(2)). An application cannot be made in isolation under MCA 1973, s 37 to recover assets.

If an application is subsequently made for financial relief, then A may at that stage make an application under MCA 1973, s 37. There is a presumption, unless the contrary is shown, that the person who disposed of or is about to dispose of or deal with the property did so or, as the case may be, is about to do so, with the intention of def

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