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At Hepburn Delaney, we receive many enquiries about financial matters in divorce, with issues surrounding non-disclosure by either parties and the many complexities surrounding assets in another jurisdiction.
Ms. Adley* instructed us on her divorce and the financial settlement. Mr. Baily* worked for a big pharmaceutical company, earning a high salary. Both parties lived in Switzerland during their marriage as well as other countries before coming to the UK. They lived a considerably high standard of living during the course of their marriage and therefore there are a few assets to consider. Both parties decided to go through the process of financial disclosure.
Financial disclosure is the process of giving your spouse, and the court, full details of your personal financial circumstances and your future needs and resources. It is usually the first thing you will be asked to do, as we will be unable to advise you properly about the likely outcome of your case without having a full picture of where both you and your spouse are placed financially. In financial matters, disclosure is essential whatever process you intend to use to achieve a solution: in or out of court. If you do start to use the court process the court will order both you and your spouse to a complete financial statement (a form called Form E) before the first court hearing. In non-court processes such as mediation, collaborative law or arbitration, you are likely to be asked to use a similar document.
Both you and your spouse need to have full financial information before you can agree how your financial arrangements should be separated out, as the law says that the available resources must be split fairly. It is not possible for you, your lawyers or a court to know what will be a fair solution unless everybody knows the full financial picture.
There is a continuing obligation to give financial disclosure throughout proceedings if circumstances change and you will need to update it before a final settlement or final hearing if much time has passed since Form E was prepared. If financial documents are not disclosed, then this is where problems can arise.
In this case study, Mr. B had various bank accounts based in other jurisdictions. Ms. A did not particularly know what accounts Mr. B had or the value of these accounts. Because of the complexity, we instructed a forensic accountant to conduct a full analysis of his bank accounts to support the full disclosure process.
As a result, we were able to establish the total assets held and this contributed to the final settlement that Ms. A would receive. Therefore, this ensured that the settlement was fair and reasonable.
At Hepburn Delaney, we recognise that the end of a relationship or marriage can be challenging. Our Financial Settlement services are designed with the intention of supporting you through this process, aiming to alleviate the associated stress and facilitate a seamless resolution.
This case study illustrates the crucial role of full financial disclosure during financial proceedings within Divorce matters. It empowers well informed decisions and transparency.
Where clients are not clear about their partners or matrimonial finances, understanding the situation fully is invaluable to protect assets.
Through our meticulous assessment, we achieved a fair and amicable settlement for Ms Adley which protected her future.
* Disclaimer: The names used in the following case study have been changed to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of individuals involved in the case.
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