The Perils of Playing Hide and Seek

Posted on: September 5th, 2013

When getting divorced one of the strongest fears that couples have is that the financial agreement won’t be fair and that their partner will “pull a fast one” or “take them to the cleaners”.

The temptation in those circumstances when emotions are running high is to downplay the extent of your assets or income or fail to disclose accounts or artificially reduce dividend income if you are the owner manger of a business.

The breakdown in trust between couples together with the stress and emotions of separating does not help.

“Our job is to make sure that both couples provide a full and accurate picture to each other of their financial circumstances. Clients have to put their cards on the table and provide an open and honest assessment of their finances and in doing so this tends to lead to swift, cost effective settlements as everyone knows where they stand.”

The problem comes when one spouse decides not to play by the rules.

“This can land them in legal hot water as couples have a legal duty to provide full disclosure of their assets and the penalties for not doing so can be costly and serious as one husband found out recently.
The husband and wife had agreed to reach a settlement without legal advice because they wanted to agree matters quickly. The wife later found out after the settlement had been made that the Husband had shares of up to £740,000 in a company with a £50 million turnover that he said had not been trading and undisclosed assets of £800,000.

The matter came back to court and the judge found that the husband had been “deliberately false” in disclosing the extent of his assets. He set aside the settlement leaving the wife free to pursue a new settlement based on the further financial information that had come to light.”