And the decision to allow the appeals by two women who said they were duped into accepting “unfair” settlements from their former husbands has been welcomed by a Telford family law expert.
Nadia Davis, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors, said the decision had set a strong precedent that should deter any spouse from ever making a false claim during a divorce.
“The two women claimed their husbands had deliberately misled them and the court by providing false information as to the true extent of their wealth during the original hearings. Their lawyers had asked the Supreme Court to set aside the original divorce settlements as a matter of principle and justice, and the judges agreed to allow their appeal.
“Now the existing settlements will be set aside and the cases will have to return to the Family Courts to be reviewed and re-assessed. This clearly opens the door to former spouses who may have already agreed settlements but who feel they may not be fair and that there may be cause to believe that someone has failed to be completely honest about their wealth.
“It’s a stark warning that couples should always declare their assets and income at every stage of divorce proceedings, otherwise they could find the original decision overturned if more evidence comes to light.
“There will no doubt be implications for a huge number of divorce cases which may already have gone through the courts, and the Supreme Court’s decision really is a clear indication that dishonesty won’t be tolerated.”
Nadia said there had been some concern that the decision would open the floodgates to overturn divorce proceedings by greedy ex-spouses.
“But it’s more likely that the case will have a greater impact on couples in the kind of smaller money cases that are heard by the courts every day, and it’s a vital step towards giving spouses access to shared assets to ensure they have enough to live on.”