All parties to a divorce owe a duty of full and frank disclosure. This means that they have to provide all the information that they can about their assets and income. If they refuse or fail to do this, the consequences are very serious.
Penalties of non-disclosure during a divorce
During proceedings, if a party has not given full disclosure then the courts are likely to draw “adverse inferences” about them. This means assuming that if a person is being evasive it is because they have something to hide, and making robust assumptions about the true value of their wealth.
Remedy for non-disclosure after a divorce
If your divorce has finished, but you believe that your partner hid assets, it may be possible to reopen your case.
Following the decisions in Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil, the court can now reopen any case if there has been deliberate and fraudulent non-disclosure. This means that where assets have been deliberately hidden, the court can reconsider the case and review how the assets were divided.
What happens when the case is reopened very much depends on the specific facts. If you believe that your settlement was tainted by non-disclosure, it is important to act quickly in trying to issue your appeal.
In addition to this, failure to make proper disclosure can amount to contempt of court. If their contempt is deliberate then they can be fined or even sent to prison.