The Telegraph reported yesterday on a High Court case where a woman was challenging the financial settlement reached on divorce from her husband, on the basis that he had misled her about the extent of his wealth.
The unnamed woman reportedly entered into a private agreement with her husband, without the benefit of legal advice, whereby he was to pay her £1.8 million on their divorce in 2009. She then came across documents that established that her husband had assets that he had not declared to her, and that he had falsely declared the value of his interest in a company as nil.
The Judge hearing the case, Sir Paul Coleridge, has ordered that the settlement should be set aside and the matter looked at again. This may involve a further payment to the wife, and no doubt the husband’s assets will be under extremely close scrutiny.
The Telegraph reports that Sir Paul stated “With the availability of legal advice becoming scarcer and parties often having to litigate without proper legal advice it is more than ever important that financial details are presented to the other side and the court in a simple, clear, concise and, above all, accurate way.”
This is a cautionary tale about the dangers of proceeding with not only inadequate financial disclosure but also without proper legal advice. After all, I am sure that the wife in question here would rather that matters had been resolved properly first time round, without the need for lengthy, costly and stressful Court proceedings when she discovered her husband’s duplicity.
Image by Danielle Scott