Monday, 25 February 2013

Hiding your wealth doesn't pay

Couples going through a divorce have been warned they could face prison if they try to hide their wealth from their former partner.

Our family law expert, Nadia Davis, said both sides were obliged to reveal the full extent of their personal finances - both at the start of the case and throughout the entire process.

"It's no good trying to hide your assets to protect them from your spouse as the consequences could be extremely serious. By claiming to have less than you actually do have, you would be depriving your former partner of their fair share."

Nadia said the warning had really hit home in a case where a husband was believed to have assets worth around £400 million, but who claimed to have lost the fortune and could not explain where it had gone.

"He had been ordered to pay monthly maintenance to his wife but failed to make anay payments at all, so the judge decided that a fine or suspended sentence was not a tough enough penalty, and the husband was actually sent to prison.

"This is a clear indication of how important it is for both sides to give full and frank statements about their financial position, and underlines the consequences if they don't comply."

Nadia said anyone deliberately trying to shelter their wealth would almost certainly be found out and taking such a risk could prove extremely dangerous.

"Not only must both sides disclose all their personal finance information at the start of the divorce process, but they must also be open about their circumstances for the entire course of the court proceedings. So there will be no opportunitiy to siphon off assets once the case has begun, or the same threat of a prison sentence will occur."