Owner of $3m apartment tells divorce court he's broke

By Lenore Rice

A husband who was battling a County Court order for him to pay £235,000 towards his wife's legal fees told the court that he owned a $3.3million apartment in Manhattan, New York, a 50 per cent share in a company that had a turnover of $8million, but that that did not mean he was rich.

Yan Assoun, a former London City trader, and his wife Anais Assoun, aged 43 and 44 respectively, married in London but both departed for the US two years after their split in 2007. While they both now live in the US they decided to move their divorce through the English court system. Mrs Assoun was already awarded $1.1million worth of assets in 2011, together with $230,000 in annual maintenance for her and to pay for their children's education. A final hearing will take place to complete the division of their wealth, and in July the Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court ordered Mr Assoun to pay $235,000 towards his wife's legal fees.

Mr Assoun took that decision to the Court of Appeal, saying his wealth had dropped significantly, and that he was now representing himself as he had no money. In response to the successful business he owns a 50 per cent share in, Mr Assoun said that the multi-million dollar turnover did not equate directly to a larger income for himself. He said there was no equity left in his house, and that his $3.3million apartment did not mean he was rich.

The judge refused leave to appeal, saying that he did not consider that there was an error in the decision by the County Court. He said the best place to discover the trust about their assets was at the upcoming Family Court hearing, and that the payment of legal fees to Mrs Assoun would have to be taken into account if it should be confirmed that Mr Assoun really doesn't have the money to pay the sums he has been ordered to.

An accurate calculation of assets can be difficult in a divorce, and often one spouse has more information over the true nature of their wealth than the other. It is not uncommon for debts that one of the spouses was unaware of to surface during the divorce hearing, significantly altering the actual assets pot that has to be divided as part of the separation.

If your require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 1363.