Judges lose patience 
with warring couples

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JUDGES in divorce cases are prepared to get tough with husbands or wives who don’t stick to their settlements, a leading law firm has warned.

Family law experts at Ward Hadaway, which has an office in Leeds, said that the courts in England are not holding back from taking action against those who don’t abide by rulings – including sending people to prison.

In a recent case, a man was given a six month jail sentence for failing to pay his wife the £1m he owes her in maintenance.

Theo Hoppen, an associate in the family and matrimonial team at Ward Hadaway, said: “Judges are usually reluctant to use this punishment as it is seen as too draconian.

“Some clients feel, therefore, that the courts can be too lenient on wayward spouses who do not comply with court orders. It may well be that judges are set to clamp down on litigants who breach orders.

“If this is a taste of things to come, it could have quite a profound change on divorce cases, particularly those which are closely contested and where there are substantial assets at stake.”

The team at Ward Hadaway acts in divorce cases involving complex assets, including cases in which one of the parties refuses to provide disclosure of their assets.