An asset tracing exercise can help the parties to a divorce to understand their expenditure.
So – how much is it reasonable to spend on gifts, shopping, housekeeping, school fees and holidays?
Does anyone really know what they spend until they either apply for a mortgage or get divorced?
In this case we reviewed all the transactions in 12 lever arch files containing the wife’s 20+ bank and credit card account statements over a period of several years. Our job was to build up a picture of her income and expenditure including identifying any patterns or unusual items.
The situation was complicated by the expenditure being in many different currencies and involving a vast number of inter-account transfers between different currency accounts. We also had to account for a virtual bank account for which we had no statements but which received and paid out £millions at a time.
We used software to convert thousands of pages of paper statements into an electronic format. We analysed the electronic data and put together a simple summary – one page showing income and one showing expenditure.
In the period reviewed the wife’s income reduced significantly but her expenditure had carried on as normal, totalling millions of pounds. This resulted in a severe depletion in the marital assets in the period under review. A notable item within the expenditure was a six figure donation to the wife’s religious guru, of whose bank account she was a trustee.
Hundreds of thousands had also been spent in an unsuccessful attempt to change the jurisdiction of the proceedings from the UK to a location more beneficial to the wife.
Our work was used by Counsel to calculate the value of add backs to be included in an asset schedule presented at Court. Our client’s application to secure a portion of the marital estate on the basis of the asset schedule was successful.