Tragic Incident Brings Barder into Spotlight
The suicide of a man just 22 days after a final financial consent order had been signed with his wife within divorce proceedings led to his settlement of £17.3m order being appealed and overturned in what is known as a ‘Barder’ event.
As a result of his suicide, the man’s wife was successful in reducing the lump sum settlement against the executors of his will to £5m.
A ‘Barder’ event is named after the case of ‘Barder v Barder’ where after a financial consent order was signed by the parties and sealed by the court, the husband murdered his two children and then committed suicide. This type of ‘supervening’ event can lead to an order being appealed and then set aside as if it had never existed, so the case can be looked at again.
There are four conditions that have to be met before a ‘Barder’ event can be established and an order successfully set aside:
- There has to be an event which occurs after the consent order is made, which invalidates the reason as to why the order was made in the first place
- The new event has to occur within a relatively short time after the consent order
- The application for permission to appeal the order out of time should be made reasonably promptly
- By granting permission to appeal out of time, it should not prejudice third parties who have acquired, in good faith and for valuable consideration, interests in property which forms part of the relevant order (in this case, part of the monies had already been used to buy the husband’s mother a house but she was able to keep this so was not prejudiced. The reduction in the lump sum also enabled certain bequests to be upheld that were made by the husband)
Having accepted the initial award was needs based rather than a sharing award, the judge then considered if the event could not have been foreseeable or likely to have been foreseen. The husband had a clean bill of health and had undergone medical assessments after the separation and the wife confirmed she had no idea that her husband intended to take his own life. Therefore there was no reason to suggest the tragic event could have been foreseen. This led to the order being susceptible to the ‘Barder’ jurisdiction.
If you need further advice in relations to financial settlements within a divorce or Barder event in Cheshire or Manchester, please contact solicitor Kirsten Grotte on 01625 531 676 for a free initial consultation.