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Case law: Divorce settlements

Ian Stirzaker the Head of Family Law at SME Solicitors introduces his latest article explaining and keeping you up to date with developments in the divorce courts

The Supreme Court has unanimously allowed the appeals of two women tricked into accepting 'unfair' divorce settlements from their former husbands.

The court ruled that Varsha Gohil and Alison Sharland’s husbands had deliberately misled them and the court by providing false information as to the true extent of their wealth during the original hearings..

The issues raised in the Supreme Court will have implications in many other cases.

In Mrs Sharland’s case within the divorce the husband had suggested his business was worth between £13M and £47m which resulted in an agreed 50/50 split but shortly afterwards within a possible flotation scheme the business was said to be worth around $1bn.

In the Mrs Gohil’s case she discovered that her husband had not fully disclosed his finances during their divorce. He was later convicted of fraud offences and jailed for ten years in 2010.

The decision confirms the view that dishonesty in disclosure is not to be tolerated and when it happens that the burden of showing that there would have been a different result without dishonesty should not fall on the wronged party.

In reality a few extra million pounds may not actually make much difference to Mrs Sharland's standard of living as she is already extremely wealthy by any standards. The importance of the case is in restating the importance of full and frank disclosure and the fact that the court will not tolerate anything less. That has implications for the thousands of other cases that are dealt with in all courts up and down the country every day especially when the disclosed assets either do not meet or do not properly meet the needs of the parties.

As part of our unique approach to problem solving SME Solicitors aims to simplify the often complex decisions of the family courts and to present them in a way that our clients can easily understand. If you have a family law problem that needs to be resolved in clear, straightforward way please call either Ian Stirzaker or Joanna Gardner on 01905 7323561.


October 2015

We have a dedicated microsite for these matters, meet the team who would be assisting you and watch our latest videos >

Added: 02 Nov 2015 15:23

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