Divorce appeal makes it to Supreme Court

Multi-million pound divorces are in the news lately.

The latest in a long string hit the headlines yesterday after the case won the right to appeal in the Supreme Court.

Alison Sharland, ex-wife of Charlie Sharland, is fighting for her right to a fairer share of his estimated £700 million fortune following his fraudulent misrepresentation of his company’s worth.

The software entrepreneur was found to have misled the court in the divorce settlement by claiming the company was worth up to £47.25 million. Reports have since valued the company significantly higher it has emerged.

Despite this concealment and dishonesty on the part of Mr Sharland, the Court of Appeal ruled the divorce settlement was unlikely to have been different, even with the revised figures. Ms Sharland was ordered to pay her ex-husbands costs for the appeal.

The couple, who were married for 17 years will have their case re-heard next year.

Full and frank disclosure

This case highlights the need for full and frank disclosure of financial assets right from the beginning of a divorce.

You will be asked by your solicitor to fill out a ‘Form E’. This can run to many pages in length and can seem like a daunting task at first, but is very important.

Make sure to keep your financial documents and statements in order and begin preparing them early on, as any delays on your part could lead to further expenses with the Courts as they follow a strict time schedule.

Your Form E disclosure should include everything, and not just cherry-picked assets. If everything is included, it will be much easier to find a fair, equitable split and any agreements reached will not be compromised by further ‘surprise’ financial information further down the line.

Any non-disclosure is likely to lead to a significant increase in costs for both parties. Should further undisclosed financial assets come to light during the course of proceedings this is likely to significantly weaken the bargaining position of the non-disclosing party, both in negotiations and at any final hearing.

Whilst costs orders are not generally made in matrimonial financial proceedings, where the non-disclosure is found to be intentional and reveal substantial additional assets, the court may need to be convinced as to why an order for costs should not be made against the non-disclosing party.

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