Over the years I have been involved in many cases where my client, usually the wife, believes that her husband has far greater assets than he says he has. However, it can often be impossible to prove that the husband has these assets offshore or if he has transferred them into the name of a company or into the name of some third party.
If however, you become aware at any time that your spouse misled the court into believing his assets were much less than they actually were and you suffered a loss as a result then it would be possible for you to re-open the case.
In London last week, two women successfully argued that their ex-husbands misled the court about how much they were worth. The judge accepted that dishonesty and fraud had been involved and ordered the cases to be re-examined. One of the lawyers was quoted as saying “the lie does not have to be a big lie for the court to dispense with the order, but it does need to have been material enough for the court to be sure that if the lie had not been told, the basis of the agreement would have been different to the one reached”.
This case attracted substantial media coverage but it is actually nothing new. The law in relation to fraud and misrepresentation applies to everyone and if you feel that you entered into a separation agreement or financial orders were made as part of a divorce and you subsequently learn that fraud had been involved or that the court or you had been misled, then you can re-open your case.
If you do however discover that you were misled or the court was misled, it would be advisable that you move as quickly as possible, particularly if a substantial period of time has elapsed since the making of the order as other difficulties could arise.