Non Disclosure of finances in Divorce-its not worth the risk!

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.

Family Law and Social media-beware the pitfalls

People are increasingly communicating and conducting their lives on social media – from attempts to mirror Bake Off cakes to marriages, births, deaths and, importantly for lawyers, divorces.
Family law specialists have noticed that in recent years nearly every case that crosses their desks includes issues relating to social media and the use of smartphones.
Clients either initiating or on the receiving end of divorce proceedings and associated financial or children applications are well-advised from the outset to consider carefully how they are presenting themselves online.
A picture is worth a thousand words and could potentially cost many thousands of pounds in a financial settlement. Individuals may plead poverty, only for the other half to produce a catalogue of images of that person attending flash parties and enjoying lavish holidays. This can be a huge distraction from the important matter of both parties engaging in full and frank financial disclosure, which is crucial in preventing matters dragging on unnecessarily.
Money is one thing, but matters can become more serious where issues relating to children are raised. Family solicitors frequently see cases where the other side has slavishly collated print-outs from social media to suggest that an individual or a new partner is unsuited to caring for the parties’ children. An ostensibly innocent comment posted online or an unfortunate drunken photo can have serious consequences.
I have been involved with cases of my client’s wife posting a picture of her new ring on Facebook.As the parties had split up this looked like an engagement ring!Another Child arrangements case involved my client’s wife sending texts from her hospital bed to her children after self-harming.Really damaging all round.
Likewise, It is easy for a client to take a screenshot of text messages – now displayed in a useful conversation format, which can be traced back over several months or years – and email them to a solicitor. In the past it was harder to prove the “he said, she said” of previous agreements in relation to assets or financial support; these are now easily accessible to all and often printed and inserted into witness statements and court bundles.
Relationship breakdown is emotional and stressful – it is easy to send aggressive or abusive messages. Clients should pause and consider how those words might look as an enclosure to a solicitor’s letter or bundle in front of a judge.
There have been instances where clients have realised that the other side, and, more worryingly, children, have had access to messages and emails because the devices previously used by all the family remain “synced”. While people will clearly have a lot on their minds should a relationship break down, they must think carefully about who has access to what.
Passwords should be changed and care should be taken to ensure that communications remain private. Parties involved in proceedings will be advised by their solicitors that if they deliberately attempt to access private information belonging to their spouse or partner, they run the risk of civil – or in extreme cases, criminal – proceedings or an unwelcome costs order being made against them.
Family disputes are unpleasant enough without the stress and conflict that can arise from social media use. Simple steps and common sense can make the process much easier and quicker to resolve.


Interesting concept…not for every situation with separated parents but one to consider

that might help reduce disruption in the chilld/childrens lives,which is always good.

Gary Lineker is going through the friendliest divorce ever

Gary Lineker and Danielle Bux might have called time on their marriage, but not on their friendship. Only two weeks after being granted a divorce, the pair had a raucous dinner with friends in LA.

In his column for Event magazine, Piers Morgan wrote, “They genuinely are still great friends, and have managed to separate with the kind of maturity, decency, intelligence and mutual solicitousness for each other’s welfare that all the warring couples of the world should seek to emulate.”

Read the full article here.

Contact me to talk about how you can come to an amicable agreement and save yourself a lot of time, money, stress and heartache.

‘Divorce Month’ January is not a media myth

Staff at a leading family charity say the idea January is “Divorce Month” is alive and kicking after calls to its specialist helpline and website visits went through the roof in the first two weeks of 2016.

Statistics from National Family Mediation (NFM) show that whilst visits to had reached an all-time high in January 2015, this month’s figures have so far seen an increase of some 40 per cent even over last year’s peak. And calls to the charity’s 0300 4000 636 dispute resolution hotline have risen in January by 26 per cent compared with a year ago.

“Our analysis shows the idea that January is “Divorce Month” is no media myth, but a proven phenomenon,” says Jane Robey, NFM’s Chief Executive.

Read the full article here.

Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney


For all our Wills, including more complicated Wills, like Trust Wills or a LPA, I will discuss your wishes and requirements and then quote you a fixed price upfront. Once I have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work, that price will not change.

A Will is not expensive [from £150] and the consequences of not doing it can be an intestacy if there is no Will or the  Court of Protection if there is no LPA and you become mentally incapable. In both cases there is further unnecessary extra worry and expense for your family.


The media-reporting family proceedings.


I am sometimes asked to what extent the media can report financial remedy proceedings. A recent case in the High Court has decided that media reporting should be restricted and such proceedings heard in private.

The current rules essentially permit journalists to attend the hearing held in private without access to the documents. If you are famous, your identity and the fact that you are going through financial remedy proceedings may be reported! Often this information is already out in newspapers. Mr Justice Mostyn has concluded in a recent case that the media’s role is strictly as a watchdog. It is very much for the judge to decide as to whether your names should be made anonymous!



Representing yourself can be risky!

It is tempting to seek to avoid legal fees and represent yourself. Beware the case of Mr Veluppillai, (“V”) who represented himself against his wife in divorce proceedings. Not only did V fail to save himself money but landed up with a costs order against him of £150k. The judge found his wife’s proposals eminently sensible. V caused there to be 30 court hearings and ended up assaulting his wife’s barrister and fled the country!

When you go to court it means engaging in a battle; starting a fight. Sometimes people lose perspective in their desire to win. However, there is no winner here. The bottom line is that thereis always less money available to divide between the separating couple at the end of the day and immense bad feeling between them.

Another approach is family mediation. In mediation we start from the place where separating couples say “It went wrong. We can’t put it right. But by blaming and punishing nothing is mended. Let’s work together to build workable futures for us both”.

Yes, this is hard work. But a lot less stressful than fighting and cheaper than the £150k that V will be handing over to his ex-wife’s lawyers.

Only 1 in 3 Britons make a Will-so what is the cost of dying intestate?

Statistics show that only 3 in 10 Britons have a Will and in 2011 the Treasury coffers  gained a massive £53 million because of this.So why would so many people take such a risk by not having a Will?  Perhaps its because there are many misconceptions, such as thinking everything will automatically go to your spouse or children when this is not always the case, or that it’s too expensive to make, or simply intending to make a Will but not getting round to it.

1.So why make a Will? Well who do  you want your assets and money to go to?

 If you do not make a Will then the rules of intestacy apply which may not necessarily be consistent with your intentions. For example, following changes to the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 if your estate is worth more than £250,000 and you have children, then your spouse is likely to receive the first £250,000 absolutely as well as all personal chattels and 50% of the remainder of the estate, with the other 50% passing to your children. Previously the spouse would only have received a life interest in 50% of the remainder.

2.Will my Estate be liable for Inheritance Tax?

The current nil rate band for each person for inheritance tax is £325,000 after which the rest of the value of the estate is charged at 40% rate. There are numerous ways to keep your estate below £325,000 but if you are married and your spouse dies and transfers everything to you upon their death, your executors may also use your spouse’s nil rate band in addition to your own to effectively double your nil rate band to £650,000 at  today’s values.These matters need to be considered carefully in the  light of one’s individual circumstances. There are also many other important factors to consider in the future though not obvious at first.

3. What about the costs of administering the estate after you die?

When making a Will you are r potentially saving thousands of pounds after you die on wasted administration costs. For example, by simply stating your beneficiaries addresses in your Will you will save time and money instructing a professional to locate them.

This logic can be applied to other matters, for example if you have numerous investments scattered around, you could save time and money locating them by scheduling them ahead of time.

4. Who will look after my minor children?

Making a Will is an excellent opportunity to appoint the appropriate relatives or friends as guardians to look after your minor children and ensure they are provided with the care and security they will need in the future.

5 .Ensure your wishes being fulfilled after your death.

Do you have any specific wishes about where and/or what type of funeral arrangements you wish to have? If so, making a Will should ensure your wishes fulfilled.

6 .Who do you want to administer your estate?

Appointing your executors is extremely important as they are the people who you trust and are most able to make sure your wishes are carried out.

7. What if there is a dispute over my Estate?

Failure to provide for your family and dependents in an adequate manner can result in  claims by beneficiaries against your Estate after you have passed away.

8. Need more information?

I’m fully trained and experienced in writing Wills and have successfully made Wills for many local people using extremely good precedents on my laptop.I’m quite prepared to visit you at a venue to suit and I always give good value.You can rely on me to provide a caring and efficient confidential service. I’m happy to have a free initial consultation with you. All you need to do is to telephone Richard on (020) 8487 8803 or email me on


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