Last week a ruling was made by the Supreme Court that enables spouses to revisit agreements made in previous divorce hearings if they believe the other party hid the extent of their wealth.
Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil both believe they were cheated out of their rightful share by their ex-husbands and are entitled to more money in their divorce settlements. Mrs Sharland accepted a £10 settlement from her husband Charles, a successful software entrepreneur, in 2010 but later discovered that his company, AppSense, was worth about £600m rather than the £47m initially thought.
Mrs Gohil left her marriage to ex-husband and lawyer Bahdresh Gohil with £270,000 and the keys to a Peugeot in 2004, and eventually ended up homeless. Mrs Gohil later learnt that her husband had millions in property and was worth £35 million, however he was eventually convicted of money laundering.
Both Sharland and Gohil’s lawyers have hailed the decision as a ‘powerful deterrent’.
The decision is a welcome relief to many who have suffered in court having been misled by dishonest partners, and brings home the message that dishonesty simply won’t be tolerated. Some critics have speculated that the bold move will now ‘open the floodgates’ to divorced partners looking for a fairer of the settlement. However it just goes to show that individuals choosing to misrepresent financial information in court may pay the price later on.
This issue speaks volumes about the need for a thorough investigation to be conducted during high net worth divorce proceedings. Calling upon an experienced investigation firm during the divorce process in order to locate hidden assets will ensure a fairer hearing the first time round, and fairer judgement for the other party.
Time will tell as to whether both wives will receive a higher settlement as part of the rehearing, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction…