The unanimous ruling of the three panel Court of Appeal indicates that where material non-disclosure of assets have occurred the court has the discretion to deal with the case justly and proportionately by ordering an enlargement of the previous order. The court is entitled to assume that in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary that the husband could still reasonably make the extra payment.
The Kingdon Case on Non-Disclosure of Assets
The parties separated in 2003 after a long marriage of 23 years. They had three children. During the marriage the wife’s main role had been as wife, mother and home-maker. She also worked at times as a legal executive.
The husband is a chartered accountant and had a successful career in financial services. At the time of the separation he was the finance director of Kensington Group PLC (“KG”) and was earning about £350,000 p.a. inclusive of bonus. In 2003-04 he made £1.7million as a result of his exercise of share options in KG and of immediate sale of the shares. In October 2004 the husband became a finance director of MPHL, a private company. By that time the parties had exchanged disclosure of their financial assets. In April 2005 the parties agreed that they would resolve their finances on the basis of a clean break. The wife was awarded an equal division of their assets and an additional payment was made to her by the husband of £200,000. This agreement was reached without the husband disclosing to the wife that in July 2004 he had acquired £200,000 of shares in MPHL. In 2006 the husband sold those shares netting £1,268,000.
The Court of Appeal found that ‘the husband had been guilty of deliberate, substantial and protracted non-disclosure’. They unanimously awarded his ex-wife £481,000, a 35% share of the net gain acquired from the sale of the shares. The court dismissed the husband’s argument that because he had suffered losses on the stock market and a diminution of capital that should deflect the court from making the order of additional payment.
How can Hanne & Co help you?
Hanne & Co is one of London’s leading family law firms. Our specialist family law team has decades of experience in complex ancillary relief proceedings. Following the Court of Appeal ruling in Kingdon, it is likely that ex-spouses will seek legal advice following a settlement of finances where it later emerges one party has failed to make full and frank disclosure. Our invaluable experience in ancillary relief proceedings can assist anyone seeking advice on such financial settlements.
Please feel free to enquire with one of our family law team on 020 7228 0017, alternatively you can contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website www.hanne.co.uk, and one of our experienced family lawyers will be in touch.
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