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.