Beware of Witholding Financial Information on Divorce
On the 14th October 2015, the Supreme Court made a ruling which made it clear that dishonesty in financial dealings upon divorce will not be tolerated and settlements based on dishonest information are susceptible to being set aside.
Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil reached financial settlements with their ex-husbands only to later discover that the financial information upon which they were based was inaccurate and misleading. They took their cases all the way to the Supreme Court. The court ruled unanimously in their favour with the result that the original settlements can be set aside and re negotiated.
It follows that we are likely to see a rise in the number of challenges to existing divorce settlements and not only in big money cases. The threshold to set aside an order does however remain high and is only likely to be considered where, in the absence of any fraudulent misrepresentation of the financial situation, the court would probably have made a different order from the one made .
It also follows that the only way to ensure finality is for parties to give full and frank disclosure of their finances when either negotiating a settlement either by consent or obtaining a ruling from the court, which is of course the way it should be.