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Divorce victory opens the door

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It isn’t really too often that a legal story is the main national news item, but in recent weeks this has happened and we are pleased to say Bowsers told you about it first.

In the early part of summer through this column we spoke about how there were two ladies battling with their former husbands through the courts who had misled them about their wealth when they were going through divorces.

Since then, during October, these ladies won their Supreme Court cases, and unsurprisingly it has caught the media’s imagination.

We would have addressed this matter in our last legal column, but due to changes in consumer rights happening at the same time we have had to put this on the back burner until now, giving time for more reflection.

Family departments in law firms throughout the land had been looking at the cases of Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil with some considerable interest.

Now, following the women’s much publicised victories many more former partners will inevitably be asking that their divorce settlements are scrutinised.

For those of you who need reminding, Ms Sharland , from Cheshire, accepted £10m in her 2010 divorce from her multimillionaire husband, believing this represented half of his wealth but this was only a small fraction of it.

Ms Gohil, from north London, accepted £270,000 and a car as a settlement when she divorced her husband in 2002.

However, Mr Gohil was later convicted of money laundering and jailed for 10 years and during the criminal trial evidence revealed he had failed to disclose his real wealth during divorce proceedings.

The ladies’ cases are now on the way to the High Court and many people in the country, mainly women, are left wondering if the truth was declared in divorce proceedings.

The Supreme Court, in allowing these ladies to appeal the case, has sent a message that in divorce those involved should come clean and disclose what they have. This landmark decision opens the door for divorced people who have reason to suspect their former partner has concealed assets.

It means the law courts are going to be kept busy for a long time and shows that, although in these cases it took a long time, that honesty is the best policy.

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