The Family Court has powers to add back to the property pool the value of any assets sold by a party without the consent of the other party and where the party who sold the property gains a financial benefit. The Family Court can order that the value of the assets sold be added to the property pool and the value be deemed to be a part settlement of that partyâ€™s interest in the net matrimonial assets.
This can be treated by the Court in two ways. As stated firstly by adding back the value of the property and secondly giving a greater percentage interest in the division of the net matrimonial assets to compensate a party for the loss of the assets from the matrimonial property pool. This was highlighted in a recent decision whereby the husband had sold certain assets and a business owned by the parties. The husband had not given full and frank disclosure of the relevant financial documents relating to the sale of such assets and business and it was difficult to ascertain the exact value the husband received for the sale of such items. Because the value of the items sold could not be clearly established the Judge gave the wife a 15% adjustment of the remaining assets in her favour pursuant to section 75(2)O of the Family Law Act. The Judge based his decision on the lack of full and frank disclosure by the husband and the â€œwantonâ€ conduct of the husband in selling the business for a small amount and the closing of that business.