A landmark ruling permitting a reconsideration of divorce cases, many years on, due to the other spouses non-disclosure at the time of the initial proceedings.
The Supreme Court recently allowed two appeals brought by ex-wives whose husbands failed to provide full, open and honest disclosure of their financial assets in the court proceedings. The court stated that dishonesty or fraud involving failure to disclose financial assets can be grounds for re-negotiating previously resolved disagreements.
Financial disclosure is the process of giving to your spouse and to the court full details of your financial circumstances, future needs and resources. Disclosure is essential whatever process you intend to use to achieve a solution; in or out of court. It is not possible for you, your lawyers or a court to know what will be a fair solution unless everybody knows the full financial picture.
In the recent Supreme Court decision the court reiterated that where a spouse intentionally failed to disclose the full extent of their financial assets, it is for that spouse to prove to the court, in subsequent court proceedings brought by the aggrieved spouse, that such non-disclosure would not have made any material difference to the outcome of the case. This can involve extremely lengthy and expensive court proceedings which replicate those which occurred in the first instance.
If you and your spouse have already agreed financial arrangements and this has been approved by the court, but you later discover that your former spouse may not have disclosed the full extent of his or her financial assets, and you have proof of this, you may be able to ask the court to re-open your case to consider whether in fact there should be a different outcome. There is no time limit for your former spouse to apply to court but he or she must do so as soon as possible after discovering the fraud or failure to disclose assets.