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Honesty costs nothing...lying could cost you everything
- AuthorSam Miles
This phrase has rung true for two ex-husbands who have recently been uncovered as being dishonest during their original divorce hearings, meaning their ex-wives are now entitled to re-apply for their financial settlements. Sam Miles, Family Law Partner, here reviews the case and advises those who are currently divorcing to be open about their financial arrangements.
Alison Sharland is the first ex-wife in this case, who divorced her husband Charles three years ago and was awarded £10.35m in cash and properties in the settlement. “Following this award, it has since been discovered that the firm owned by Mr Sharland was in fact worth more than was disclosed,” explains Sam. “Mr Sharland declared at the time that the company was worth between £31m and £47m, when in fact one estimate placed it at £656m.”
Varsha Gohil divorced her husband Bhadresh over ten years ago, and at the time accepted £270,000 plus a car in their settlement. “Following their divorce, Mr Gohil was then convicted of money laundering, highlighting his dishonesty about their financial situation during their marriage and divorce proceedings,” continues Sam.
“Due to the dishonesty portrayed by both husbands, the justices involved in these cases ruled that each woman was entitled to a renegotiation of their settlement agreements,” explains Sam. “In the case of Varsha Gohil, she was financially supporting her children from the time of the divorce, and still does now, so the review for her will be particularly pertinent in the future wellbeing of her family. Alison Sharland decided to fight for her case as she didn’t wish for others to be in the same situation where their former spouse deceives them for their own financial gain.”
Both cases will now be reverted to the High Court to be re-assessed. “What these cases mean for the future is the warning that you should be honest when it comes to financial disclosures during your divorce, and should hopefully act as a deterrent for dishonesty and deceit” advises Sam. “This right to re-open your divorce settlement on the grounds of dishonesty has always been in place, but these cases put the spotlight on the potential scope of claims. It’s likely that we will now see a rise in the number of applications for former spouses to challenge their divorce settlements, but it’s important to consider everything before proceeding.
“Any children in the relationship should be the first consideration,” continues Sam. “The feelings from the initial divorce proceedings are likely to still be with the children and thought must be given to how they will react to more litigation between their parents. The financial impact is another thought. Depending on your circumstances it may be unwise to re-open a case, not only due to the financial bills in terms of court fees, but also will any new evidence actually work against you and result in less money being awarded to you.”
Sam concludes, “If you’re divorced and new evidence has come to light that your former spouse was dishonest, then we would always recommend your seek legal advice to discuss the best way forward for your situation. It may be that family mediation would actually be a more appropriate step for you, and this would be less costly, in terms of both financial and emotional strain, than battling in the courts.”
For more information on divorce or family mediation, you can contact Sam or the Family team on 02380 717431 or click here to visit their section of the website.
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice. All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.