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/ 26 Sep 2022

Hanne & Co in new reported case: fraudulent documents in divorce proceedings

Partner Elinor Feeny’s  recently reported case (X v Y 2022 EWFC 95) draws wider attention to the ability of dishonest parties to manufacture realistic and genuine looking bank statements (and other documents) and the implications this can have on proceedings.

Elinor Feeny


Family & Divorce

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The recent case of X v Y

In this case, the Wife has significantly suffered as a result of the Husband’s lack of engagement with proceedings and what turned out to be a fraudulent document. The case concerned financial remedies proceedings arising out of divorce.

The Husband was successful in moving his Wife and two children to London from his home country, despite the wife’s apprehensions. He produced a document which appeared to be a legitimate draft sale contract of his company to ‘Company X’ at the sale price of £80 million as well as a bank statement with a down payment of £8 million. Having seen these documents, the Wife resigned her employment and uprooted the family to London convinced that the husbands plan was serious and saw real benefit to her. The parties lived a high standard of living until the marriage broke down in 2017 and the Husband then withdrew financial support while appearing to maintain his own high standard of living on social media.

After exhaustive attempts to obtain disclosure from the Husband matter proceeded to final hearing where, following third party disclosure of the genuine bank statements, the court ascertained that the Husband had manufactured the original statements, and failed to provide evidence to the contrary. In light of the Husband’s lack of disclosure and poor litigation conduct the court made the unusual order to keep the Wife’s capital claims open for a period of 10 years alongside ordering generous maintenance.

The court noted that it is important for litigants, practitioners, and judges to be aware of the issue and drew attention to an article in financial remedies journal: Dodgy Digital Documents: Where are we now? Where are we going? by Helen Brander [2022] 2 FRJ 139 which gives a full description of the existence of this issue.

How can you deal with fraudulent documents and non-disclosure of information in divorce proceedings?

Partner Elinor Feeny takes stock on the above and provides 5 suggestions on how to deal with a difficult opponent in financial remedy proceedings in her article “How to deal with non-disclosure of information and fraudulent documents in divorce proceedings”.

If you have any questions on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact our London family & divorce lawyers today.

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