Can I renegotiate my financial settlement if my former spouse was dishonest about assets?

Two female divorcees have won a Supreme Court battle to have their financial settlements renegotiated after their ex-spouses deliberately concealed the true value of their wealth during original divorce proceedings.

Here, family law expert David Connor explores what the decision means for divorcees and whether financial settlements can be challenged in cases where one party has been misled over the assets of the other.

Right to challenge financial settlements

The landmark ruling overturns Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil’s original financial settlements, meaning they can now renegotiate in an attempt to get a fair share of their ex-spouses’ assets.

The Supreme Court ruling clarifies the law and confirms that financial orders can be renegotiated in cases of fraud or dishonesty. The decision could uproot thousands of divorce cases and pave the way for ex-spouses to challenge their original settlements.

While Gohil accepted £270,000 and a car in 2002, Sharland received £10m – what she believed to be an equal share of her ex-husband Charles’s fortune.

At the time of divorce, Charles Sharland’s software company was presented to the court with a value of £47m, but the financial press has since reported that the firm’s value is actually closer to £600m.

Sharland won the case after the court found her former husband had concealed the true company value, as well as deliberately hiding plans to float it on the stock market.

Both cases will now go to the High Court to be reconsidered.

Right to a fair decision

The Supreme Court made the ruling on the basis that both couples’ financial settlements were made based on fraudulent evidence, so the original settlements cannot be valid and the wronged spouses have the right to a renegotiation.

Does this mean I can challenge my financial settlement?

The result of the recent case is that anyone who can prove that their former spouse was dishonest or misleading about their assets during divorce proceedings, could potentially have their settlement set-aside and the case heard afresh.

This is a landmark judgement which opens the gateway for people to look at renegotiating settlements where there has been significant non-disclosure.

The case also acts as a stark reminder that divorcing couples must be open and honest and provide full disclosure of assets in divorce proceedings to prevent costly litigation in the future.

If you believe your former spouse deliberately concealed the true value of their assets during divorce proceedings, then it is important that you seek specialist legal advice from a family solicitor. For further information on financial settlements in divorce, please contact David Connor on 01706 225621or email