Some men and women lie about their income and assets on divorce and were in marriages where neither spouse knew the financial position of the other, as they kept this secret from each other during marriage. Although the English courts may give more weight to prenuptial agreements in due course, in most cases there is none. The Supreme Court is due to rule shortly in the Katrin Radmacher case. Ms Radmacher’s ex husband is seeking £6m from her and the Court of Appeal upheld her prenup made abroad.
Sandra Meakins a partner in Kidd Rapinet’s Farnham office says:
“In a decision in July of the Court of Appeal, the court looked at the obtaining of documents from a spouse without permission, which is common in divorce cases. In some marriages couples have total openness and disclosure, they open each other’s post, leave statements lying around and do not maintain confidentiality between each other. Other couples hide details of their income. The Court recognised couples were entitled to choose which type of relationship they wanted and, if information were confidential, then only on obtaining a court order to search for evidence could a trawl though secret files and computer systems take place. It was not open to the other party to do so without consent.
“Here, the brothers-in-law, who made office space available to their sister’s second husband, had heard from him that he would never let her know the full extent of his finances so that when divorce was in the offing they had a search done of their own computer systems (which he used) and took many files containing financial information. When he applied for an emergency court order for them to be returned the court said this was wrong. Instead, they would be given to his lawyer who could cross check his financial disclosure when it arrived to see if that which was revealed in the files was also in what was disclosed. The gist of the decision is that breaching confidentiality is wrong, even if to stop a spouse lying.”
We can advise you on issues of privacy and confidentiality, whether in divorce or another context. Contact Sandra Meakins on 01252 713242 for further information.