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Supreme Court to rule on significant divorce disputes

Next Wednesday (October 14) the Supreme Court will hand down judgements in two significant divorce disputes.

Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil reached the UK’s highest court in June. Although separate cases, the Supreme Court heard a joint appeal as the ex-wives both sought to have their divorce settlements set aside, arguing that their husbands had not been frank about their finances during the proceedings. As a result, both women claim, they received less than their fair share of the couple’s assets.

The Court of Appeal described the evidence given by Alison Sharland’s husband during the couple’s divorce proceedings as “seriously misleading”. Meanwhile, the same court ruled that evidence from Bhadresh Gohil’s criminal prosecution for fraud could not be used as evidence by his ex-wife Varsha in her bid to set aside her settlement.

The law requires parties in a divorce to make a full, frank and honest disclosure of their finances to ensure that both receive their fair share of the couple’s assets. But it is not unknown for the richer party to try and conceal the full extent of their wealth in order to keep more for themselves. If their failure to disclose is subsequently uncovered, the courts must decide how precisely how this deception affected the settlement received by the other party.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil will have tremendous implications for the way the divorce courts deal with financial deception in the future.

The rulings are expected at 9.45am.

Supreme Court summaries of the two cases are available here and here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Name Witheld says:

    I was granted a judicial separation after returning home the UK from France where I had been living with my Husband who remained in France.Our financial settlement followed with the wording upon divorce being made absolute(with ref to the pension share)on our CONSENT ORDER. However when my Husband applied for divorce some weeks later it was found that the application for divorce was actually applied for when I made an application for “pension alimentaire” maintenance in France some 2 years before so the French courts were considered first seized. Consequently the divorce took place in France.
    The consent order was presented to be harmonized and stamped by the French courts which they did although adding that our assets must be distributed according to our French marriage regime which was made post marriage 2004 after moving to France and was made “regime of Universal Community of current and future property” which meant everything to be split 50/50 which was exactly the same in our consent order although no mention was made in the order that we had signed a marriage contract (post)We agreed to sell all assets and split equally.
    Now the French property that I was given occupation until the sale in the consent order and confirmed by the French courts has become the problem in that valuations made by agents and my Husbands Notaire have not been accepted by my ex and has markeeted the property on his own for double the value and has refused to accept my offer of the valuaton price.
    He has now demanded I pay rent to the value of his half (uncommon in the UK but normal in France) However, the consent order dictates that he pays me £200 a month maintenance (which is a share of his private pension,he is 67 and I’m 65 and am also in receipt of full basic state pension based on his contributions) until he pays me a lump sum of 36000 euros from the sale of the property I occupy.
    He has now stopped paying me on the basis that he will keep the money for rent he considers I owe and is alleging I’m refusing to sell the property as ordered.
    Neither the UK order or France mention rental payment nor have I refused to sell,his actions in my opinion are deliberate in that I’m in financially difficulty and need a property in the UK From time to time stay with my son in Portsmouth for my sanity.
    I’ve been told by my French Notaire that if it goes to court, I well may have to pay rent,for me this is impossible as will receive no financial help from the French Gov and am living on £460 a month without the maintenance he now owes since 2012 over £5000.
    Would it be more prudent for me to apply for an enforcement order in the UK courts as will take years in the French courts?

    • Gillian says:

      Did u get this sorted?

      • JACKIE TUPPEN says:

        No it’s not sorted far from it.I was forced to issue enforcement proceedings for the non payment of periodical payments now amounting to the French tribunal.I happened to speak to an International lawyer who said it was a mistake not to have issued the order in the UK courts,which I may well have done had I been advised earlier!
        The ex then counter claimed, for me to pay him rent due on his half ownership since the divorce wiping out the periodical payments owing.I now await the decision of the family court result in August (a wait of 2 months) which makes a mockery of the maintenance regulations 4-2009 on enforcement of maintenance.
        According to the regulations,if I return to the UK I will be able to appeal in the UK courts as the original Country that issued the consent order.
        I really need legal help if the order goes against me as to whether continue in France for the appeal or take it up in the UK?. I’m legally aided in France and again, according to the maintenance regulations should be entitled to free representation with R.E.M.O or legal aid. The translation of documents alone will cost a fortune.

      • Gillian says:

        Did u get this sorted?

  2. Alison says:

    they have a life style most could only dream of and instead of making their own money, they are set on living off a man they no longer want in their life.

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