On the 14th October the Court of Appeal handed down the long awaited decision of Roocroft v Ball.
Thye background of the case was that Helen Roocroft and Carol Ainscow's civil partnership came to an end in 2010. Miss Ainscow appeared on The Times "Rich List" in 2009 however claimed in 2010 at the time of the separation that due to the recession her wealth had decreased the and as a result only a fraction was available to share with Miss Roocroft following their 19 year relationship.
Due to Miss Roocrofts financial position she was unable fight the case and settled for a claim which provided her with a small capital sum of £162,000
Following the death of Miss Ainscow in 2013, Miss Roocroft alleged that her estate was worth more that disclosed during court proceedings in 2010 arguing that she had hidden more that £6millions worth of assets. She then applied to the court to set aside the original order from 2010 and sought a greater financial provision from Miss Ainscows estate.
The estate of Miss Ainscow made an application to strike out the application, this was successful as His Honour Judge Barnett was of the opinion that Miss Roocroft had entered in to the original deal with her eyes wide open.
Miss Roocroft appealed the decision and the matter was referred to the Court of Appeal. It found that the court had no jurisdiction to dismiss the case without further investigation and has reverted the case back to the family court for reconsideration.
This is the latest in a long line of cases involving allegations of what the court refers to as "material non-disclosure" which in essence is failure to disclosure your assets to the court
In the recent cases Gohil v Gohil and Sharland v Sharland, the wives in both cases challened their divorce settlements after they discovered their husbands had misled them significantly as to their personal wealth. In both cases the wives were successful in setting aside their original divorce settlement on the basis that thier husbands were dishonest and deliberatley misled them and the courts.
The outcome of the above cases reinforces the importance of being open and honest when negotiating or litigating on family matters. These cases are leaving it open for partners to return to the court at a later date if it can be shown that the other party as deliberately misled the court as to their wealth.
If you require further advice and assistance on financial remedy during separation and divorce please do not hesitate to contact our matrimonial specialist solicitor Louise Neville on 01254 872272