The dust has now had time to settle following the Supreme Court’s much publicised Judgments in the cases of Sharland and Gohil. The cases were heard by the Court simultaneously as they dealt predominantly with the same issue; what should happen to a financial settlement following a divorce that has been based upon fraudulent information?
Upon receiving an application for a financial order, the Court requests the husband and wife provide financial disclosure via a “Form E”. The Form E’s are subsequently used by the Court as a basis for reaching a settlement and therefore their information is crucial and any fraudulent disclosure can have a significant effect.
In the cases of Sharland and Gohil, the husband’s in both instances had lied to the Court in relation to their finances and therefore both wives received a settlement far less than they believed they were entitled. The Supreme Court ruled that such fraudulent disclosure should result in the Court setting aside the original decision, at the expense of the husband, and to re-start afresh. The ruling of Sharland and Gohil may to many seem logical, yet prior to the decision, the leading case law of Livesey v Jenkins indicated the Court would only set aside an order if the non-disclosure by one spouse resulted in the order being made which was substantially different from the order which would have made had full and frank disclosure taken place.
Going forward, when completing Form E’s it is essential that the disclosure provided is honest and accurate. It is also noteworthy that the duty of disclosure continues after the filing of the Form E’s until any settlement is reached. A failure to do so may lead to any order being set aside and a hefty costs order against you.
For further advice or assistance on family matters including Form E’s or if you believe your settlement may have been based on fraudulent information, please contact our Family Law department 01756 793333or contact our Family Law specialist by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Law Solicitor
Tel: 01756 692877