In a groundbreaking case The Supreme Court has ruled that if a party to a marriage has misled the court with regard to their assets it is open to their ex-partner to challenge their divorce settlements, even long after the divorce has been finalised and the assets have been split.
It is thought that this case will send shock waves through the divorce courts, as there are likely to be challenges to existing settlements if there is evidence to show that one of the parties has lied. Equally important is the fact that lying to the court about assets is fraud, and there is a distinct possibility that a party found to have misled the court might be prosecuted for fraud or perjury.
The message is clear; it is important for parties in a divorce to be honest and transparent with regard to their assets, and to ‘put everything out on the table’ so that an appropriate division of assets can take place. This doesn’t mean that parties cannot argue over whether their ex has the right to make a claim on their income and assets, as the needs of the parties will be taken into account and of course the care of the children will always be the primary concern in any marriage breakdown.
It perhaps only goes to show that the court retains the right to scrutinise any settlement on divorce, and it is ever more important that parties to a marriage which is breaking down consider the division of assets and look to agree a sensible split if at all possible, and a Consent Order can then be submitted to the Court to avoid any repercussions at a later stage.
Sandra Hickson, Family law specialist at Ellis Hass & Co Solicitors, with over 20 years experience in divorce/children law, said
“It has always been the case that financial orders could be re-opened if the ex-spouses, and therefore the Courts, had been misled. If the parties choose not to offer full disclosure then they will always be looking over their shoulders for when their former spouses re-open the matter at some later stage. The recent cases stress the importance of getting the right advice when going through a marriage breakdown to make sure that any settlement regarding a division of matrimonial assets will stand the test of time”.
If you are worried about the financial implications of divorce or how the children will be affected by family breakdown, call Ellis Hass & Co Solicitors on 0800 197 3560 (local call 0121 709 1918) or visit www.ehsolicitors.co.uk to arrange a free consultation to discuss the issues with our family lawyers at our Solihull offices . We are here to help and just a click or a call away.