If you’re facing divorce proceedings this year then you’ll want to be certain that, before any financial settlement negotiations begin, you know exactly how much is available in the matrimonial asset pot to be shared. But what do you do if you suspect that the financial disclosure provided to you by your former spouse is incomplete and dishonest?
Elspeth Kinder, a Partner in DWF’s leading Family Law Team says the problem is more common than you might think: “I’d estimate that in at least 50 per cent of the cases that I advise clients on there is some issue to tackle with regard to the failure to provide complete disclosure. The law is clear that on divorce, both parties must fully and honestly disclose all of their assets, liabilities and income but so often it becomes apparent during a case that this has not happened.”
Elspeth advises: “Sometimes clients will try and undertake their own investigations in an attempt to prove that assets have been hidden. Clients have to be very careful that in doing so they do not break the law by breaching their spouse’s right to privacy. Documents that are locked away and kept confidentially cannot be used. However, paperwork left lying around at home in a place that you have always had access to is a different matter and in the vast majority of cases can be used during divorce proceedings.”
Sometimes though, uncovering assets is not so straight forward. Elspeth recently successfully led her team’s painstaking work to uncover a substantial sum of money that had been hidden in an offshore bank account by a client’s former husband.
Elspeth comments: “My client was clear from the outset that she knew money had been hidden offshore by her husband but she had no evidence to prove it and her husband had hidden the money extremely well. Through months of detailed work, tracing a complex web of assets from England through several different jurisdictions, weuncovered the money and the outcome at the final hearing was then significantly better for my client and her two children.”
Elspeth notes: “Even where divorce proceedings have finished and the Court has made an order about the division ofthe assets, it is possible to ask the Court to reconsider its decision if it is later proved that full disclosure had not been provided and that there would have been a materially different outcome to the case if it had.”
Elspeth is recommended in the leading legal directories, Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners as ‘highly regarded for her work on financial remedy and wealth protection matters’, ‘secures excellent outcomes for her clients’ and ‘very strategic, calm, reassuring, has great rapport with clients, and goes the extra mile.’
Article originally featured in Live Magazines. To download the original version follow this link – divorce | uncovering hidden assets | family law | dwfThis information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.