Louise Barretto, Head of our Family Law team comments on a showbiz rift, which raises a familiar Family Law problem.
It was reported via The People online this month that American actress Jaime King’s estranged husband actor/writer Kyle Newman is claiming she emptied out their joint bank accounts and forced him to leave their family home amid their divorce.
Newman claims in the court documents that after promising King he wouldn’t “take the kids,” he was blindsided by the star attempting to get a restraining order against him – as well as sole legal and physical custody of their children. The former couple share two sons: Leo James, 5, and James Knight, 6.
“When I attempted to retain counsel on May 18, 2020 as a result of Jaime’s outrageous ex parte and false allegations of domestic violence, I learned that she had emptied and closed all of our joint accounts, leaving me with nearly no funds. I had to borrow money from my family to pay my attorneys,” Newman alleges in the filing.
“I cannot continue to be left without the funds necessary to pay for my attorneys, including the funds necessary to proceed with preparing and filing requests for support and custody,” Newman states in the court documents.
So, how might this have been avoided?
It is important at the start of any discussions about separation or divorce to ensure that any joint assets are protected. For the benefit of either party.
In the case of joint bank accounts either party is able to empty the account legally so if there is a concern that this may happen then my client would need to advise the bank of impending proceedings so that neither can draw out funds or ensure that the account is closed with half of the available balance going to each in separate accounts whilst the negotiations or proceedings are taking place.
There are more urgent remedies available where there is a risk of dissipation of the funds when it may be possible to get an injunction, but usually these matters can be resolved by the solicitors.
This may be an inconvenience when household bills are being paid via debit orders on the joint account and there will need to be discussions about how those payments will be met in the interim.
Each case is different and it is important for them to seek advice at an early stage.
The above is accurate as at 21 September 2020. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.