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The Importance of being Honest

That honesty is a strict requirement of justice was underlined yesterday by the decision of the Supreme Court after two ex-wives won their battle to set aside their respective divorce settlements due to non-disclosure by their former husbands.

The Supreme Court was considering the cases of Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil. In each case the women claimed that their former husbands had misrepresented their true financial position at the time the Court Order was made.

The key points of the ruling are:

  1. The parties each owe a duty to the Court to make full and frank disclosure of their financial resources as without this information the Court cannot discharge its duty under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and, as this is a duty each person owes to the Court, that person cannot be exonerated by the other spouse from complying with it.

  1. Where the order was by consent, if there is a reason that vitiates a party’s consent, there may also be a good reason to set aside a Consent Order.

  1. “fraud unravels all” and should lead to the setting aside of a Consent Order procured by fraud unless at the time the Consent Order was made the fraud would not have influenced a reasonable person to agree to it nor would the Court have made a significantly different Order.

The ruling paves the way for anyone who discovers that their ex-spouse did not reveal all of his/her assets at the time of their divorce settlement to seek to overturn the Order and so, if you want finality in your divorce, do not lie!

If you would like to discuss any issue relating to divorce or family breakdown, please call the author, Jacqui Forrest, on 01202 802807 or email us at  office@solomonslaw.co.uk

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