Sharland and Gohil win Supreme Court battle

Two women who claimed to have been misled by their ex-husbands and that they should receive more money in their divorce settlements have won their Supreme Court fight.

Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil each accepted divorce settlements based on false information provided by their ex-husbands, as previously reported.

In a three-day hearing that began on 8 June, Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil asked for their divorce settlements to be set aside on the basis that their husbands had deliberately misled them and the courts during the original hearings.

Ms Sharland agreed what she believed to be a 50/50 split in her divorce settlement after 17 years of marriage, but it later emerged that her ex-husband had misled her and the courts over the value of his business and his plans for a future IPO flotation. Instead of the business being valued at between £31million and £47 million, it was reported in the financial press as being ready to float at a value of $1 billion.

Meanwhile, in 2004, two years after her divorce, Ms Gohil discovered that her husband had not fully disclosed his finances during their divorce, leading her to accept £270,000 and a car as a settlement. He was convicted of fraud offences and jailed in 2010 for ten years. During the course of the criminal trial, further evidence of the extent of his intentional non-disclosure in the original divorce proceedings emerged.

It is believed that today’s ruling could pave the way for more people to renegotiate their divorce settlements.

Surjit Verdi, a solicitor in Palmers’ Family Law team, said: “This news could have far-reaching implications for other divorces and financial settlements. Research has found that a quarter of those questioned in a survey hid financial assets during a divorce – the equivalent of around 30,000 people in the UK – even though couples have a duty to disclose financial information during a divorce.

“In reaching a financial settlement initially, or pursuing a potential claim to review it at a later stage, expert legal advice can be crucial. The non-confrontational approach advocated by family law body Resolution, of which our family law specialists are members, can make a difference in helping divorcing couples to negotiate settlements in a constructive way that avoids the time and expense of going to court. For more information, please contact our Family Law team.