he media has been awash with reports of the so-called 100% divorce over the past couple of weeks.
In case you missed it, the case concerned Dr Essam Aly and his wife, Enas. Consultant anaesthetist Dr Aly is reported to have left his wife in 2011, fleeing the UK for Bahrain and soon after remarrying and having another child. The couple themselves had two children during the course of their 9 year marriage.
Since leaving the UK, Dr Aly has made no spousal or child maintenance payments to Mrs Aly. Upon being heard in the family court last year, a judge deemed Dr Aly’s failure to support his former family unacceptable, and upon the financial settlement ordered virtually 100% of the marital assets to be awarded to the wife.
Although Mr Aly appealed, his case was thrown out. Taking his failure to pay anything towards his children’s upbringing since the couple separated as evidence, the Court of Appeal judge decided that there was no foreseeable chance of Mr Aly making future maintenance payments, and the decision to award the entirety of the £560,000 family assets to Mrs Aly was upheld.
Since this extensively reported case, there has been widespread uproar in the media, with some corners claiming this will set a precedent for women to ‘take men for all they’re worth’. Against this backdrop there has also, perhaps unfairly, been a great deal of negativity harboured towards Mrs Aly.
This case in particular demonstrates the public nature of taking personal, family matters to the courts. Whichever camp you’re in, both husband and wife have received their fair share of criticism in the media. Although it’s possible that Mrs Aly felt she had no choice but to issue court proceedings, having essentially been abandoned by her former husband, Collaborative Law could perhaps have offered an alternative course.
Whilst this ruling shows that the courts have discretion in the orders they make, it also shows that such decisions can be fairly drastic. Collaborative Law allows the parties to reach an agreement between themselves during a divorce or other family law matter; meaning the end result can be one that suits both parties. Furthermore, the collaborative process allows much wider discretion, meaning that a tailored agreement that could never be achieved in the court can be put in place.