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Dishonesty in Family Cases will Not Be Tolerated

Two divorcees, Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil, who claim they were cheated out of their rightful share after their husbands failed to reveal their assets have won their Supreme Court battle.

This is a timely reminder that there should be full and frank financial disclosure in family remedy proceedings. It has been possible to re-open a financial settlement before this week’s judgement if there has been fraud. However, the publicity surrounding the decision of the Supreme Court this week in the cases of Mrs Sharland and Mrs Gohil must surely assist those who fear their spouse will attempt to hide assets when it comes to a financial settlement following divorce.

The Supreme Court unanimously found that the two husbands had misled the courts at earlier hearings. Mrs Sharland’s original divorce settlement has been set aside and the lower court will now re-consider the case, with Mrs Sharland expecting an increased financial settlement.

Parties in financial remedy cases following a divorce have a duty to provide complete financial disclosure. To achieve finality and avoid significant legal costs it is imperative that spouses adhere to this. The earlier this financial disclosure is made the sooner a financial settlement can be achieved. A failure to provide full and frank disclosure will risk uncertainty, delay and significant legal costs.

Sarah Finnis, head of our family law team says, “My advice to clients has always been to offer to exchange full financial disclosure at an early stage. With the media spotlight on these two high profile cases the risks to clients of not doing so is clear – dishonesty in family cases will not be tolerated by the courts.”

Sharland v Sharland [2015]UKSC 60 Gohil v Gohil [2015]UKSC 61

For further advice on matrimonial matters contact our Family Law Team.

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Before relying on this commentary please read the Reliance on information posted section in our Terms of Website Use in our Legal section. Please note that specialist advice should be taken in relation to any specific queries and the information above is provided for general information purposes only.

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