14th Oct 2015

Supreme Court decision on the claims of two ex-wives

Earlier this year the Supreme Court spent three days examining the claims brought by two wives for an increased divorce settlement after matters had already been finalised.In both cases the husbands had deliberately provided false and incomplete financial disclosure.

Mrs Sharland received a divorce settlement of £10,000,000 (plus properties) believing that the settlement was 50% of the matrimonial assets. However the husband’s software company was in fact worth far more than disclosed. In the original divorce settlement, the husband had stated that the business was worth £31,000,000-£47,000,000. It later transpired that the business was in fact worth around £656,000,000.

At the Court of Appeal the Judges agreed that Mr Sharland had deliberately provided false information and had failed to inform all parties that he was thinking of floating the company. However the Judges dismissed Mrs Sharland’s appeal as they felt that the outcome would not have been significantly different if this information had been provided.

Mrs Gohil's situation was similar to that of Mrs Sharland. Mrs Gohil had accepted a settlement of £270,000 plus a car back in 2004. Mrs Gohil believed that this was a fair distribution of the assets. However the husband was then tried and jailed for fraud and money laundering of sums up to £37,000,000. It had therefore transpired that the husband had not provided accurate information of his finances at the time of the settlement.

At the Court of Appeal it was held that the wife could not use evidence from the husband’s criminal case to prove the dishonesty of the information provided in the original proceedings.

Both wives appealed to the Supreme Court and have won their battle. Their settlements will now be reconsidered in the High Court.

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