Imprisonment For Non Payment of Lump Sum

Divorce and Finances

In the case of Zuk v Zuk [2012] a former husband appealed a nine month prison term for failing to pay a lump sum to his ex wife.

The husband had been ordered to pay his ex-wife £10,000 in a lump sum during ancillary relief proceedings.  There had been evidence that the husband had access to £37,000.  The husband indicated that he had no intention of paying the sum to his ex-wife therefore the judge attached a penal notice to the order if he failed to pay.

The husband did not pay the lump sum and was therefore handed a nine month prison sentence.  The husband appealed.  The court heard arguments that there had been errors in the judgement and that the court did not have power to pass a sentence of more than six weeks.  The appeal was allowed.

Section 5 of the Debtors Act 1869 limited the maximum term to six weeks. The judge was mistaken exercising power under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 under which she sentenced him to nine months. The burden of proof was also with the wife to establish that her ex-husband (the debtor) was able to pay the debt.

Divorce Solicitors and Lawyers Eastbourne, Hailsham, PolegateEast Sussex

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please contact our Family Law Department for a free initial appointment in
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Nicholas Dennis
Nicholas Dennis
Guy Brown
Guy Brown
Carolyn Richards
Carolyn Richards
Alexandra Funnell
Alexandra Funnell