Friday, 19 October 2012

True value in Divorce

Recent press reports from home and abroad have highlighted the importance of having the right figures in the ‘pot’ to be divided when a couple divorce .
Recently the press reported that a Morecombe man was jailed for perjury after deliberately faking evidence in his divorce case. He had told the court that he had spent very large sums on building work when in fact it had been used to buy a property abroad. His intention being to reduce his wife’s financial settlement .
In the USA this week millionaire businessman Frank McCourt, the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is reported to have just sold the Dodgers for $2.15 billion. His divorce settlement in 2010 was negotiated on the basis that the team was worth $300 million. Not surprisingly his former wife has made an application to reopen the settlement.

The divorce court in England puts both parties under a clear duty to provide a full and honest picture of their finances before deciding on a financial settlement.
Deliberate dishonesty of the kind proven in the first case would, as you would expect, allow the court to revisit the settlement . If a similar case to the Dodgers sale were to arise in England however, the outcome might not be as obvious.

Dramatic rises and falls in the value of assets soon after divorce settlements do not necessarily lead to the case being reopened. The court may decide this was due to ‘the natural process of price fluctuation’, in other words to market forces. Whatever the approach of the courts in the USA Mrs McCourt clearly thinks that the application is worth the risk!

We are a team of specialist family law solicitors in Manchester. For more divorce advice please read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts

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