Financial & Legal News

A Challenge to Divorce when Assets not Fully Revealed

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A significant Supreme Court ruling has paved the way for divorcing couples to renegotiate their settlements after it was found that two ex-husbands did not disclose the extent of their assets and wealth during their divorce cases.

Pearson’s Family Partner, Daniel Prince, said following the ruling other couples could now look to renegotiate their settlements and not all had to be multi-million business dealings;

“Dishonesty in the failure to fully disclose all assets is frowned upon by the courts and this ruling is a clear signal that couples who suspect or can prove this can now go back to court, have the original agreement set aside and look again at their cases,” said Mr Prince.

The two women, were Mrs Sharland who accepted a £10.3 million settlement three years ago before she discovered that her husband's company was considering flotation on the stock market and had a value of £620million.

Mrs Gohil agreed to £270,000 and a car in her divorce settlement, but her ex-husband was later convicted of money laundering. At his criminal trial, evidence revealed he had failed to disclose his true wealth during divorce proceedings.

Giving judgement, Lady Hale said Mrs Sharland’s appeal had been unanimously upheld.

"By the husband's fraud and the judge's order, she had been deprived of her right to a full and fair hearing of her claims," she said.

"The case must therefore return to the Family Division [of the High Court] for further directions as to how her claim is to proceed."

Setting out the decision in Mrs Gohil’s case, Lord Wilson said: “The respondent failed to discharge his duty to make full and frank disclosure.”

Commenting further, Mr Prince added: “In divorce cases both parties must comply with the legal requirement to provide full and frank disclosure of their assets, or the consequences could be serious, both in the revised order terms and costs penalties, particularly where dishonesty was present.

“An experienced adviser can tell you what disclosure is expected and should be able to spot any tell-tale signs of non- disclosure, but can also advise whether such disclosure is relevant to your case as you must also be mindful of the potentially disproportionate legal fees involved in chasing information that would be irrelevant.”

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