(Family Division, Bodey J, 13 December 2012)
The husband and wife, both in their early 50s and of Hong Kong Chinese origin were married for 21 years and had one adult son. When the marriage ended the wife issued financial remedy proceedings and the husband declared in his Form E his half interest in the matrimonial home and the takeaway business plus an income of £12,000 pa net. He also made reference to family assets in Hong Kong held by his mother.
Following the first appointment the husband disengaged from the proceedings and the wife believed he had returned to Hong Kong after he sold the takeaway business to a third party. The wife asserted that the husband had failed to provide full and frank disclosure in the Form E, namely by failing to declare that he had recently transferred three properties in Hong Kong to family members for £829,800. As well as producing records from the Hong Kong Land Registry the wife also produced a schedule of assets showing net assets of over £1.6m.
Due to the husband's failure to make full disclosure and participate in the proceedings the court had little option but to draw adverse inferences against him in order for justice to be done for the wife. A 50:50 split would be fair with an uplift in the wife's favour due to the husband's conduct. The wife was awarded £902,811 which equated to 53.5% of the assets plus pensions.