Dishonesty during divorce settlements could be a costly mistake, a solicitor is warning following a landmark legal ruling.
The Supreme Court has ruled that two women, who argued their husbands had misled judges about how much they were worth during divorce cases, have the right to have their financial settlements reopened.
The women, Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil, had previously accepted financial settlements, but found at a later date their husbands had misled the courts as to the amount of money they had, and were clearly wealthier.
They took the case to the Court of Appeal, which rejected the appeal and said the settlements were could not be reviewed. Now the Supreme Court has ruled that the men were dishonest and the original orders should be overturned.
This will mean the financial settlements must be re-calculated, taking into account all available information about the men concerned.
Helen Lucking, partner in the Family team at Napthens solicitors, has warned that the case is a ‘defeat for dishonesty.’
She said: “This ruling is a clear sign that honesty is always the best policy during a divorce. Those who do not put all their cards on the table will find their dishonesty can come back to haunt them, even years later, as in these cases.
“While this ruling is unlikely to open the floodgates for similar claims, as these cases involved very high net worth individuals, it should act as a deterrent to people thinking about not disclosing their true financial positions”.
“As has been highlighted by the women involved here, court cases can be costly and time consuming affairs which are not pleasant for either parties, especially where children are involved.”