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Non-disclosure of assets - test for a successful claim

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The need for financial disclosure from both parties is a fundamental one in order for both parties to obtain legal advice and to engage in meaningful and informed negotiations for settlement.

Difficulties can however arise when one party fails to make full disclosure of assets and or income, to include income generated from assets that have not been disclosed.

In such cases the court can be invited to draw adverse inferences from the circumstances as presented regarding the non-disclosing party's conduct  and can make an order based on what the court concludes to be a more likely reality.  Some form of evidence is usually needed. 

In   D v D [2015] EWHC 1393 (Fam)  a Wife's unsuccessful claim against Husband for non-disclosure resulted in the court summarising what was needed for a successful claim to be made.

In this case the parties owned international debt recovery business which earned income from success fees (mandates) for debts collected.  The assets available to the parties did not include £1.5m of outstanding mandates.

Wife argued that Husband had opportunity to receive payment in excess of the mandates disclosed.  W had no specific evidence but referred to school fees that Husband had twice paid by remitting funds into the jurisdiction with being traceable to him.

Wife non-disclosure claim failed on the balance of probabilities.  The assets were divided broadly equally.  The mandates were held to have been generated during the marriage and were divided 1:2 in Husband's favour to reflect his greater endeavours.

Robert J summarised the evidence required:-

1. Direct evidence of the asset that it is alleged has not been disclosed;

2. failure to comply with court directions and/or to answer questions from which the court can draw adverse inferences

3. Evidence of a lifestyle that is wholly inconsistent with the disclosed financial resources

 

At TV Edwards we have an experienced team of financial experts who will assist and advice you throughout the disclosure process.  From help with completing and gathering information to analysing disclosure received from the other side and advising on potential settlements contact one of the family team on  0203 440 8000  

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