Excessive Expenditure

Graham Ball :: Friday 29th March 2019 :: Latest Blog Posts

I was appointed by the Bournemouth Family Court to act as a single joint expert and to review the expenditure of Dr B to establish whether the apparent significant reduction in funds held by Dr B between the first and second hearing was as a result of normal living or "excessive expenditure".

The purpose of the report, given in accordance with Part 35 of the Civil Procedures Rules, being to achieve an equitable capital settlement between the parties in this divorce case.

After protracted correspondence I was provided with bank statements and the majority of payment details for all identified accounts.

The definitions for my report within the court instruction were rather vague. However, my starting point was Dr B's own statement of his required expenditure as provided to the court. This had been accepted by all parties as reasonable. I therefore knew that if his expenditure was in line with, or below this figure, then I could regard his expenditure as "reasonable."

Using a small team of staff, I analysed every account, recording all income and expenditure for the required period. This was done in a mixture of electronic and manual media.

As part of the process a further two accounts were identified through cross checking transfers.

All of the income and expenditure was then compared to what had been identified as required expenditure and all differences highlighted.

My report to the court concluded that there had been something in the region of £100,000 of identified "excessive" expenditure in the given period, ranging from exotic holidays to transfers of cash to his new partner.

I received one minor query from the accountant acting for Dr B, which was easily answered. The court accepted the report and adjusted the settlement accordingly.

As part of my report I identified some further work that we would need to carry out to establish the treatment of a further £20,000. However this was considered within the settlement and the additional costs were saved.

During the course of the work it was necessary to communicate clearly positively and politely with both Dr and Mrs B in what was quite a stressful situation. It was important not to get involved in discussing the rights and wrongs of the case, whilst being firm about the information that was required. There was a lot of emotion around the case and it was important to stick to the facts and remain impartial at all times.

It was also necessary to keep both legal parties fully informed of what progress I was making, ensuring that nothing would be sent to one party without being copied to the other.