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Setting Aside Consent Orders Due to Non-Disclosure of Assets

Family and Divorce

In the case of W v C [2012] a wife won her appeal to set aside a financial order due to the husband not disclosing all his assets.

After separating, and following negotiations between both parties’ solicitors, the husband and wife entered into a financial settlement.  The wife entered the settlement without the approval of her legal advisors.  A form ‘M1’ was produced by the husband whereby he disclosed earnings and interests in a company.  On a clean break basis the wife was awarded assets totalling £1.8m.

The wife subsequently discovered documents at the matrimonial home which led her to believe that she had been misled at the time of their negotiations.  The husband refused to provide any further information.  The wife therefore bought an appeal to re-open the order for financial provision.

The wife argued that the husband was guilty of serious non disclosure and that he had been lying or failing to tell the truth.  She had found evidence of the existence of another company through which her husband received a significant income.  There was also evidence that he had not told the truth regarding the full value of the first business.  The husband argued that it had been unnecessary to disclose this second business as it was in its final stages and the income was drying up.  He also argued that the wife could of, or should of, known about it.

The appeal was allowed.  The wife had no knowledge of the second business and was not aware he was a shareholder of the first.  The husband had also shut down the second business at the commencement of the divorce proceedings in attempt to hide it.  The non-disclosure had been designed to deceive the wife and prevent her making further enquiries.  The court had also been kept in the dark and the M1 form had therefore not been completed correctly.  Although the wife did not get her solicitors consent this did not give the husband any protection.  He had presented a deliberately false picture and the wife was entitled to have the original order set aside.

Divorce Solicitors and Lawyers Eastbourne, HailshamPolegate, East Sussex

If you would like advice on divorce and finances please contact our Family Law Department for a free initial appointment in Eastbourne 01323 727321, Hailsham 01323 841481 or Polegate 01323 487051.