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When Is Conduct Relevant in Financial Remedy Proceedings?

on Thursday, 17 August 2023.

Whether someone's conduct in proceedings should have a financial implication for them is always complicated. Often one person will feel aggrieved by the way that the other has behaved and how this has contributed to the relationship ending.

In some cases, one party may feel that they are entitled to more of the matrimonial assets as a result of the other's behaviour. Should they be entitled to more?

This issue was considered in the recent case of Tsvetkov v Khayrova. The judge ordered that the matrimonial assets should be shared equally, however the wife was heavily criticized for her conduct and ordered to pay towards the husbands legal costs.  

Facts of the Case

The parties were born in Russia however subsequently acquired UK citizenship. They married in 2009 and separated in 2020. They had two children. The matrimonial assets were calculated at £48 million.

Findings were made against the wife in respect of her conduct during proceedings. Her misconduct included:

  • sharing financial information regarding the husband's business
  • attempting to hide assets from the husband
  • repeatedly lying to the court about the location of valuable jewellery

The parties combined overall costs were £3 million. The wife was ordered to pay 50% of the husbands costs, in addition to her own costs.

Guidance on Conduct Allegations

The party alleging conduct:

  • has a duty to prove the facts relied upon. There is a high threshold. The conduct must result in a negative financial impact to the other party
  • must raise the issue of conduct at the earliest opportunity, ideally within the Form E. The allegations must be clearly set out, explain why they meet the threshold and identify the financial impact

If possible, the court should give an early determination on the merits of any conduct claim. It may be that the court requires the parties to provide specific statements on this issue alone.

If you require any advice in respect of the financial implications of your divorce, please contact our New Enquiries team on 020 7405 1234, or complete the form below.

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