Two women deceived in divorce settlements can apply for more
In October 2015, the cases of Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil were heard by the Supreme Court. In both cases, the Applicant wives’ were seeking the Courts permission to reopen financial proceedings between them, and their ex-husband’s, even though the proceedings had been concluded some years earlier. Their reasons for doing this were that both believed that their ex-husband’s had been dishonest or fraudulent in their financial disclosure, and that this has caused them to reach financial settlements without knowing the full extent of the assets available.
In the case of Sharland, Mr Sharland declared that his business interests were valued between £37-£47 million and as such, Mrs Sharland received a £10 million share of the available assets. However, it later transpired that Mr Sharland had been dishonest, and the true value of his business interests were nearer to £150 million, meaning that Mrs Sharland only received a very low percentage of the overall assets available.
In the case of Gohil, Mrs Gohil received £270,000.00 of the matrimonial assets “allegedly” available to the parties at the time of their divorce. However, following the proceedings, it was discovered that Mr Gohil had been involved in a money laundering scheme, and had not disclosed the true value of his wealth within the proceedings resulting in Mrs Gohil being unaware of the full picture of his assets.
The Court ruled that Mrs Sharland and Mrs Gohil had both shown that their ex-husband’s had been dishonest in their financial disclosure, and that their cases can now be reopened and the previous settlements reviewed. In relation to Sharland, Baroness Hale stated that Mrs Sharland had been “deprived of her right to a full and fair hearing of all of her claims”.
These decisions are important as not only do they emphasise the need for divorcing spouses to give full and frank disclosure on one another within any financial proceedings, they also act as a warning to any party who is considering acting in a dishonest fashion when it comes to the splitting of any matrimonial assets upon divorce. Consequently, for any parties who believe that their ex-spouse has been dishonest in past proceedings, it brings them the opportunity to try and have matters reopened to ensure that they receive a fair settlement.
If you require any further advice in relation to this or any other family law issues, please contact Lorna Barry or Kirsty Bowers