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We, at Hepburn Delaney, receive many enquiries about financial matters in divorce, especially when it comes to coercive control and financial abuse within a marriage.
Ms. Adkin* instructed us on her divorce with Mr. Baker* who has already applied for the divorce as he had left the family home. Ms. Adkin was unaware of this as they did not agree to a separation. Mr. Baker gave Ms. Adkin, an allowance for her needs but had always been controlling of the finances and she was unsure of how much he earned as he was secretive with finances. They had two dependent children, Ms. Adkin had no income of her own and relied on Mr. Baker’s income.
Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. The controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support and depriving them of independence.
There is a criminal aspect of coercive control, a new offence came into force in 2015. This includes a person repeatedly or continuously engages in behaviour towards another person that is controlling or coercive and both parties are both connected at the time, a personal, intimate relationship or family related. In this case study, Ms. Adkins and Mr. Baker are in an intimate relationship as husband and wife and Mr. Baker’s behaviour has had a serious effect on Ms. Adkins. Ms. Adkins has been seeing her GP and has been diagnosed with a few conditions, one including depression.
Coercive control or financial abuse can be raised in matrimonial proceedings as conduct. The Court aims to ensure both parties’ financial needs are fairly met.
This does not include consideration of the parties’ conduct, unless there are very exceptional circumstances where it is obvious and gross and would be unfair to disregard. However, raising this would be subject to the high threshold that needs to be met and if so, then this can be looked at in the final settlement. It is imperative for us to make sure that Ms. Adkins stated the standard to living she enjoyed during the marriage so that she can maintain this after the divorce, ensuring that our client received a fair financial settlement.
At Hepburn Delaney, we deeply understand the emotional toll that comes with the breakdown of a relationship or marriage. Through our comprehensive Family Law services, our foremost objective is to guide and support you, mitigating the potential stress inherent in legal disputes, particularly when children are involved.
Our dedicated team remained at Ms. Akins side throughout the entire process, offering expert guidance and unwavering assistance. Our aim was to help her navigate this challenging journey.
We diligently provided proactive assistance and offered professional advice, ensuring our client achieved a satisfactory resolution that aligns with their needs and goals.
* Disclaimer: The names used in the following case study have been changed to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of individuals involved in the case.
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