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Divorce Ruling: Women misled by ex-husbands in Court



Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil have won their application to the Supreme Court. They argued that they were misled by their ex-husbands in original divorce proceedings as to their wealth and therefore should be allowed to re-open their original divorce settlements.

Both women successfully argued that their ex-husbands hid the extent of their wealth when the divorce settlements were made. Both cases will now return to the High Court for the Court to re-consider their settlements.

This is an incredibly significant ruling which clearly shows that a division of the parties’ financial assets on divorce had to be based on true disclosure of assets. If one of the parties has been dishonest and misled the other about what their assets are, then, the Supreme Court has re-affirmed the fact that this is a reason that the other party can go back to Court to have the agreement set aside and the whole thing reconsidered.

The two cases are very different in asset value. Mrs Sharland believed the settlement she entered into represented half of her husband’s wealth. The value used in the divorce case for his business was £47 million and it later transpired that he had lied about the value of the company and the financial press estimated it to be worth nearer £600 million. This settlement will now be reviewed by the High Court.

Mrs Gohil accepted a settlement of £270,000 and a car in 2002. In 2010 her ex-husband was convicted of money laundering and in his criminal trial the evidence revealed that he had failed to disclose his true wealth during divorce proceedings.

Both women argue that they entered into their agreements thinking it was a fair one and are now allowed to have their settlements reconsidered.

 

Rebecca Silcock, head of the Family Team at Mogers Drewett Solicitors says “This reaffirms what we always advise clients, namely if the information they give is later found to be untrue the court can set is aside and reconsider the financial agreement. The discretion of the Judge at a Final Hearing is wide and whilst there is no guarantee a Court may make a different ruling if it is found that former partners had misled the Court these cases reaffirm our advice. If you believe that your former partner did mislead you or the court, you do need to take advice at the earliest opportunity. These cases also show that the same rules apply regardless of the level of the wealth involved”.