FAMILY LAW ARTICLES
A British couple’s highly publicized split in 1997 is still not resolved. With the couple moving separately to the United States in 2009, the bitter battle remained in the English courts. According to a ruling in 2013, banker Yan Assoun should be paying three-times the $132,000 he pays annually, per the original agreement. This is because Assoun now earns in excess of $1 million.
Dallas and Manhattan courts now involved
Assoun appealed the ruling, but it was upheld last year. The judge also accused him of hiring private detectives to follow the wife’s family and friends. While claiming to earn a modest income, the husband sold a New York apartment for $3.2 million and was unable to explain why he was not being paid as the sole owner of his multi-million-dollar company.
He also filed a suit in Texas courts that argued that the wife was now “informally married” to a boyfriend and therefore did not need to pay alimony. The couple denied that they were married and the court upheld it.
Still in breach
Assoun is currently in breach of the maintenance order and for child support. A British law called the Hadkinson Orders prevents any further hearing by the court there until the banker has paid his obligations and rectified any breach. Now holding him accountable on both sides of the Atlantic, the wife has now sought to have the Manhattan Supreme Court uphold the rulings in the U.K. and Texas to make him to pay the $2 million owed to her.
To willingly disobey a court order can land a person in jail, regardless of whether the couple had agreed upon the amount or the court determined the amount (which is the case here). The penalties for this case will likely be high for the banker, including jail time until he pays his past due arrears.
While the banker and his lawyers may mount a defense, such as proving that he does not have the money or the income, the ill will generated so far could leave him with few options. It is never recommended to withhold payment as leverage for defending oneself in court.