A husband who tried to hide some of his assets during divorce proceedings has ended up paying far more than he would if he had been honest from the outset.
The case involved a mature couple who separated after several years of marriage.
They agreed a clean break settlement in which the wife received a lump sum of £176,000.
However, the wife later began to suspect that the husband had not revealed all his assets when the settlement was agreed and she applied to the court to have the case re-opened.
The judge identified that a property which had been purchased in the name of one of the couple’s adult children, was in reality owned by the husband. This had not been disclosed at the time of the settlement.
The property had been purchased for £250,000 and sold for £1.3m. Following a detailed evaluation at which both parties were represented, the judge awarded the wife a further £384,000 and ordered the husband to pay costs.
The husband appealed saying the figure should be reduced because it failed to take into account interest he had paid on loans relating to the property together with other expenses. He also appealed against the award of costs.
However, the Court of Appeal ruled against him. It held that the difficulties faced by the judge in assessing the case had arisen from the husband’s own conduct. It was impossible now to complain that the judge had exceeded the generous ambit of discretion open to him.
The award of costs was also justified as being the inevitable consequence of the way the husband had conducted himself.
Please contact a member of our family team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any matter relating to divorce and family law.