The High Court has declined to overturn orders by the Circuit Court in a divorce, finding that the husband was determined not to comply with the court orders.
Circuit Court orders
The husband and wife were divorced by the Circuit Court in mid-2020. As well as granting a decree of divorce, the court made orders distributing the family’s assets between the parties. The equity in the family home was to be distributed equally between the parties, and the husband was ordered to pay the wife a lump sum of €25,000 for maintenance. The husband had a nine-month period within which to purchase his wife’s interest in the family home, failing that, the property was to be sold on the open market and the proceeds of sale distributed between the parties.
Frustrating the sale
The husband did not buy-out his wife’s interest in the family home within the period allowed by the court order. Thereafter, a number of planning and structural issues were identified with the family home, such that it made a sale on the open market more difficult and the husband sought to rely on these issues to frustrate the open-market sale.
The matter was again entered before the Circuit Court in 2021, seeking that the husband complies with the court orders. An offer was made on the property which the husband refused to accept. He had taken up residence next door to the family home and had began behaving in an intimating and aggressive manner when any potential buyers came to view the property, according to the auctioneer.
The Circuit Court made orders directing that he vacate the next-door lands and cease in frustrating the sale. He appealed to the High Court.
High Court appeal
Upholding the orders of the Circuit Court, the High Court found that the husband had acted in flagrant breach of the court orders. The fact that he gave evidence of suffering with physical and mental health issues was not an excuse for his behaviour. The High Court dismissed his appeal.