Divorce ruling on hidden cash will trigger claims

Divorce ruling on hidden cash will trigger claims

Thousands of ex-wives could now seek cash from former husbands who hid their assets, following a Supreme Court ruling, a lawyer has said.

Debra Emery, partner and head of family at Moore Blatch, was speaking after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of two women who claimed they were misled by their ex-husbands.

Alison Sharland, who received £10m as part of her divorce, and Varsha Gohil, who received £270,000 from hers, say the men hid the extent of their wealth when these deals were made. The Supreme Court ruled in their favour and said the matter should return to the High Court.

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Ms Emery said: “I expect the reaction to the Supreme Court ruling to be two-fold. There will be an increase in the number of people challenging existing court orders where a spouse knows, or suspects, that some sort of fraud relating to the value of assets was involved.

“There will also be a clampdown to ensure that all material information relating to assets is provided before a court order is made.”

Giving the judgement of the court, Lady Hale said Ms Sharland had been “deprived of a full and fair hearing of her claims” as a result of her ex-husband’s actions.

Legal view

Ros Bever, a partner and specialist divorce lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “At the heart of these cases is a simple message: if you want finality in your divorce settlement – whether you agree it, or whether it is imposed by the court – don’t lie.”