Doomed to failure

It seems to me a straightforward enough decision, but Whig v Whig [2007] EWHC 1856 (Fam) deals with the much-feared situation of the husband making himself bankrupt just before the wife's ancillary relief (financial/property) claim is heard, apparently in order to defeat that claim. Here, he succeeded, simply because the court (on the wife's application to annul the bankruptcy) found that, on the date of the bankruptcy order, the husband was unable to pay his debts. Mr Justice Munby pointed out that even if he had annulled the bankruptcy order, it was probable that the husband's creditors would seek to have him made bankrupt again, and if this occurred then any order transferring the former matrimonial home to the wife "would be vulnerable to attack under section 339 of the Insolvency Act 1986 as a "transaction … at an undervalue"", so the wife's attempt to keep the property "was probably always doomed to failure".

Thanks once again to Family Law Week for this case report.

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