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Anita Shepherd – Head of Family – Discusses Recent High Profile Divorce Settlement & Its Potential Impact on the Family Judicial System

During the divorce proceedings in this case, the husband failed to disclose his intention to float his firm and that his interest was likely to be worth significantly more than the value he had provided. The wife sought to re-open the case after discovering the real value of the business and the Judge has refused her request to do so.

In our view, this decision goes against the most important principle in the family judicial system, which is that parties should be open and disclose all relevant information in order to ensure a fair financial agreement is realised for both spouses. There is often a temptation for spouses to hide financial information or assets to reduce what the other spouse might ultimately receive and it is crucial that the judiciary reduce the risks of spouses doing this. In making this judgment, the Judge commented that if divorce cases were allowed to be re-opened every time it transpired that a spouse had lied during proceedings then the Courts would be inundated with such complaints.

Our concern is that spouses will take this judgment as a green light to lie during proceedings or conceal financial information as there will be no repercussion once the proceedings have been finalised.

Davis Blank Furniss will watch with interest to see whether it is appealed at the Supreme Court.

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