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UK Supreme Court To Rule Over Fraud In Divorces

An appeal has been launched by two women who stated that they were tricked into accepting sub-par divorce settlements due to their former husbands lying about their wealth.

Varsha Gohil and Alison Sharland are both seeking to reopen their case as they felt that they were duped into taking a settlement offer after their former husbands misled them and the court. This week the cases have been reexamined by the Supreme Court with a judgement expected in the next year.

Divorce Cases and Settlement

Alison Sharland received over £10 million and properties from her husband believing that she had settled for around half of his wealth. However, she has since attempted to reopen legal action after it was revealed that her ex-husband's company was worth significantly more than she or the courts believes. Indeed, her former husband’s company was revealed to be worth more than £600 million although lawyers insisted that at the time of the divorce it was only worth around £30 million.

Her case comes at the same time as another woman who was offered £270,000 and a car that she accepted. It was later revealed that her husband, who was tried and jailed for fraud and money-laundering sums of up to £37m, had not given the court accurate information about his finances. This revelation during criminal proceedings led to her taking legal advice

The cases, which are potential landmark cases could lead to a backlog of cases in which information was disclosed from judges or victims were misled with experts warning that the “floodgates could open.” Experts have questioned whether or not Varsha Gohil’s appeal can go ahead due to information being revealed in a criminal case with the court previously voting in favour of her former husband.

Sally Harrison QC, counsel for his former wife, said: “Despite these findings, [Varsha Gohil] has no financial remedy to secure a fair distribution of the assets which the parties owned in 2004.

“Throughout the proceedings the husband denied that he had any assets.

The wife would be deprived of a fair hearing and a fair outcome if the order were to stand."

Ros Bever, a representative of both females, said: “This is yet another case in which an unfair settlement has been agreed because of one party being dishonest and not sharing all the details of their wealth to the courts.

“Both cases raise serious issues about how the courts should handle cases where information shared with the court and used to agree a divorce settlement is later found to be false or incomplete.”

She added: “Dishonesty in any legal proceedings should not be tolerated. The family court should not be an exception. There are numerous legal arguments to be heard by the Supreme Court, but we hope that ultimately justice will be done and will be seen to be done.”

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