When is a Liquidator/ Receiver appointed? Divorces are naturally strenuous processes that can weigh heavily on the concerned parties’ lives. This is because not only do they disrupt the lives of the divorcing spouses and their dependents, they can be costly financially and emotionally. Regardless of all this, at times it is the only remedy left that makes sense and offers relief to an aggrieved spouse/s.

Whilst the issues with regards to maintenance and access rights to minor children take centre stage, the one other area that usually encounters much contestation is about the division of the joint estate. What happens then when spouses squabble about pots, pans and hammers?

Sometimes a Liquidator (or Receiver) is tasked with the responsibility to liquidate the joint estate and equally share the residue after settling all liabilities of the joint estate including his/her fees. Spouses and indeed the Court must consider the value of the joint estate before the decision to appoint a liquidator as the fees of the liquidator are taken from the joint estate being liquidated. This could weigh heavily on the residue available for equal division between the spouses when the process is complete. This means such value must not be of negligible worth.

The main functions of the Liquidator include the following:

  1. The evaluation of all assets (movable and immovable) in the joint estate except personal belongings, including accessing such premises where the assets might be for such evaluation
  2. To investigate claims of assets being hidden by either or both of the spouses
  3. Establishing the liabilities of the joint estate
  4. Requesting a factual / accurate inventory or account of either or both of the spouses

The appointment of the Liquidator can even be after the dissolution of the marriage and parties must remember that, as the Liquidator draws his authority through a Court order, they must cooperate as far as possible until the process is complete.