Hot on the heels of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Gohil v Gohil and Sharland v Sharland in 2015, a lady, discovered that her civil partner, who died intestate in 2013, had hidden business assets worth millions of pounds during the dissolution of their relationship, has succeeded in setting aside the original settlement.
Roocroft v Ball is yet another case in which a party has been successful in obtaining assets which were not disclosed upon divorce/dissolution.
Miss Roocroft entered into a civil partnership with Carol Ainscow, who was a wealthy property developer. The couple then separated in 2009. Miss Ainscow sadly died in 2013, aged 55 and did not leave a Will. Following her death, it transpired that she may have misled the Court about her true wealth during the dissolution of her civil partnership with Miss Roocroft. Miss Ainscow stated that her wealth had reduced significantly following the property crash during the recession. In consideration of this statement, Miss Roocroft accepted a much lower settlement. However, she had now been successful in overturning the original agreement so that a new agreement could be negotiated with the estate based on an honest assessment of the assets.
The Court’s decision confirms that the cases of Gohil and Sharland also apply to same-sex partners who marry or form a civil partnership.
The case highlights the importance of providing full, frank and clear financial disclosure in divorce and dissolution proceedings. If you are dishonest and mislead your partner in such proceedings in relation to your financial wealth, then you run the risk of any agreement being set aside, and the claim reopened. This not only has implications financially but also affects the credibility of the dishonest person in the eyes of the Court.
If you think that your partner is not providing you with honest and open information and documentation in relation to their financial wealth, then you should seek urgent legal advice as to your options.
Anthony Jones is the Head of Family Law and is a Resolution Accredited Specialist. For more information or a second opinion, please contact him on 0161 641 4555 or email email@example.com