There are some old and rather out of date posts on this blog about bankruptcy and ancillary relief. Those interested in the topic can find a more current summary of the law in this crossover area on the Family Law Week site here.
I have not had time to read the full report of this case reported last week in The Times: Lewis and Another v Metropolitan Property Realisations Ltd (Court of Appeal, July 15 2009), but it is certainly going to be worth a look both for families concerned about losing their home and ex-(or soon to be ex-)spouses wondering whether the bankruptcy bears upon the ancillary relief. At time of posting it doesn’t yet appear to be on www.bailii.org. Judging from the brief summary in The Times it tells us this though: that a TiB has three years from the date of bankruptcy to get his money out of a former matrimonial home, or else the property will re-vest in the bankrupt. In this case on the day before the 3 year window ended the TiB had purported to transfer his interest in the property to a third party for consideration of £1 and 25% of any eventual sale of that interest. This little ruse did not work held the Court of Appeal, as it did not fall within the meaning of ‘realise’ as required in s283A(3)(a) of the Insolvency Act 1986. Thus, the property vested back in the name of the lucky LUCKY bankrupt.
The judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of Paulin v Paulin v Cativo Ltd  EWCA Civ 221 is (unusually for a bankruptcy related AR decision) a really interesting read (thanks Family Lore Focus). It covers two discrete issues: the annulment of a husband’s petition for bankruptcy in the context of ancillary relief proceedings (updating previous posts I have made on the subject – now out of date due to appeals and further case law), and the circumstances in which a judge may reverse his decision prior to the perfection of the order by sealing. The twists and turns of the Husband’s antics in order to defeat his Wife’s claims are an entertaining plot in themselves, but the review and analysis of the authorities on judges changing their mind after judgment is given is also really helpful for future reference. I won’t recount the legal analysis here because it will make your eyes water, but this is an authority to keep hold of for that time when you really need a quick run down on whether or not the judge can properly reconsider his decision. Keep it on the shelf.