If you do not do what the Divorce Court directs you to do (including paying maintenance to your spouse), you can be sent to prison.
In the UK case of Hart v Hart, an 83 year old, cancer-striken, property tycoon, Mr Hart, who had a GBP9.375 million fortune, was given 14 months' jail.
The court had divided 38%, about GBP3.5 million, to Mrs Hart. As part of that, Mr Hart was also to transfer the shares in a company to her. Mr Hart did effect this transfer.
Mr Hart had also undertaken (agreed) to provide information and documentation to Mrs Hart so that she would be able to efficiently and effectively manage the company. However, when Mr Hart and his staff left the company premises, they took along all the company's management records and left behind only two bank statements and some current licences and leases.
The court then directed Mr Hart to hand over to Mrs Hart documentation and information for the efficient and effective management of the company. This, Mr Hart failed to do.
For breaches of his undertaking and the court's directions, the court imposed a sentence of 14 months' imprisonment on Mr Hart.
In a Singapore case, the husband had concealed assets and had also acted in wilful defiance of the court's judgments and orders. He was given an 8 months' jail term.
Even before he was sent to prison, the husband had earlier committed various breaches of court orders.
- First, the husband, in breach of a court injunction, had further mortgaged a piece of property.
- Secondly, the husband, in breach of a court order to discharge all mortgages and encumbrances on that property at his cost and transfer the property to the wife, not only did not do as ordered but instead, stopped making repayments on the mortgage which caused the property to be repossessed by the mortgagee and the wife to be evicted from the property.
- Thirdly, the husband, in breach of a court order to pay the wife S$8,000 per month, made only sporadic payments.
- Fourthly, the wife had to file a summons to force the husband to pay the maintenance arrears. Although the husband initially complied with the enforcement order, he subsequently stopped making further payment and instead filed an application for variation of the maintenance payments.
- Fifthly, the husband failed to comply with a court order for him to pay the wife S$7,048,828.67 and balance of lump sum maintenance amounting to S$1,136,800.
The court was not prepared to accept the husband's claim that he was an impecunious debtor. The court, in fact, formed the contrary view that the husband was a man of substantial means and also formed the view that his non-compliance was both deliberate and fraudulent.
The court sentenced him to 8 months' imprisonment.
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