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One of the most important steps in divorce proceedings, when dealing with the division of matrimonial assets, is financial disclosure. Each party to a divorce is under a duty to openly and honestly disclose all their financial assets.
But what happens when one party tries to hide an asset? Until now, a party who came across information showing their spouse was hiding assets could present the court with copies of documents proving the existence of those assets. However, a recent court judgement ( Imerman v Tchenguiz) has put a stop to that. The court ruled that the parties’ rights to privacy and confidentiality outweighed their right to have full details of their spouse’s assets.
So where does this leave the financially weaker spouse? If one spouse already knows of the existence of a particular undisclosed asset owned by the other spouse he or she can obtain further information about that asset during the normal course of matrimonial proceedings. The problem arises where the spouse has absolutely no knowledge of the hidden asset and is therefore not in a position to ask the right questions. One way forward would be for the party searching for more information to apply to the court for a Search Order. If granted, this would allow the party to search their spouse’s home and/ or office for documents proving the existence of undisclosed assets.
Clearly there are ways of dealing with hidden assets in matrimonial proceedings however, snooping is not one of them!
For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.Back to Law Articles