Divorced Wives Win Right To Ask For More

Two women who say their ex-husbands misled the court on how much money they were worth have won the right to challenge their original divorce settlements.

The Supreme Court, Britain's top court, said Alison Sharland, 48, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, and Varsha Gohil, 50, from north London, should have their claims reassessed.

Their ex-husbands had argued against the move.

The women had reached agreements with their ex-husbands after beginning litigation, but both later thought the men had misrepresented their financial affairs.

Mrs Sharland accepted more than £10m in cash and properties from ex-husband Charles three years ago, while Mrs Gohil got £270,000 and a car from ex-husband Bhadresh more than a decade ago.

Judge Lady Hale said of Mrs Sharland's case: "By the husband's fraud and the judge's order, she had been deprived of her right to a full and fair hearing of her claims.

"The case must therefore return to the Family Division (of the High Court) for further directions as to how her claim is to proceed."

Referring to Mrs Gohil's claim, judge Lord Wilson said Mr Gohil had a "duty" to make "full disclosure".

Speaking after the ruling, Mrs Sharland said in a statement: "My legal battle has never been about the money, it has always been a matter of principle. I entered into an agreement with my estranged husband thinking that it was a fair one.

"I believed that the net result was an equal division of our assets which had accrued during our marriage and so, in my opinion, 50% was fair.

"... I hope that I can now begin to move on with my life safe in the knowledge that my future divorce settlement will be based on the true value of our assets."

Mrs Gohil said: "There are absolutely no winners in divorce and more than a thought has to be given to the children of families locked in this type of litigation.

"... The court process is unfortunately geared towards those with financial means and I consider myself fortunate that to have been able to conduct most of my case on my own.

She added: "All spouses subject to deceit and deliberate financial skulduggery in a divorce owe a huge debt of gratitude to the tireless efforts of the legal team here today."

Commenting on the ruling, Claire Blakemore from Withers Family Law, said: "The principle of full and frank honesty in court is what was at stake in these cases.

"The judgments may fire the starting gun for other cases involving non-disclosure which have been waiting in the wings for the outcome of this case."

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