As Head of our Family Team, Helen Stuart, recently explained on Radio Suffolk, two recent cases decided in the Country’s highest court have raised questions about financial settlements following on from Divorce and whether they can be overturned.
The cases of Mrs Sharland and Mrs Gohil were extreme examples of spouses failing to be honest about their finances; to the extent they were found by the court to be fraudulent. Mr Sharland had told the court, who made the financial order in his case, that his shares in his business were worth twenty times less than their actual value and Mr Gohil was subject to later criminal proceedings which called into question the truthfulness of anything he had told the court previously.
Does this mean that if you discover a former spouse has not been completely honest in negotiating a financial settlement or in what they tell the court that the settlement will be overturned? Not necessarily. First of all the court made it clear that the non-disclosure had to amount to fraud and fraud is not always easy to prove – a mistake or misunderstanding will not be sufficient. Also, even if there is fraud, the court has to be satisfied that the true position, if known, would have meant the court would have made a substantially different order. Both Mrs Sharland and Mrs Gohil’s cases have now been sent back to the lower courts to consider what order actually should be made, so their fights go on.
How can our Family lawyers help you?
Our family lawyers at Gotelee are experienced in dealing with financial claims on divorce and can advise you on the process of producing the right information to result in a settlement that can be relied upon or asking the questions that are needed about a former spouse’s finances. We offer an initial fixed fee interview at one of offices in either Ipswich, Hadleigh or Felixstowe.