I have been pleased to see a court ruling that has secured a £2.7m settlement for my client more than 10 years after her divorce.
The judgement in favour of Nicola Briers sends out a clear message that people must declare their true financial position or face the consequences, even years later.
The case has also highlighted the need for a formal court order to rule on any financial settlement following a split.
When Mrs Briers and her former husband Glenn separated in 2002 after 18 years of marriage, Mr Briers’ fashion company, which owns the Lambretta brand, was turning over £1m a year.
Following their divorce in 2005, Mr Briers gave his ex-wife £150,000 to pay off the mortgage and she kept the family home in Willenhall. She also received a support payment of £10,000 a year and child maintenance, but no financial order was made.
In 2015, a judge sitting at the Family Court in Birmingham ruled that Mr Briers should pay a lump sum of £1.6m to his former partner and transfer 25 per cent of a Standard Life pension, the Standard Life policy and his Standard Life shares to her - totalling around £2.7m.
Mr Briers appealed the decision, claiming his ex-wife should only be given a lump sum of £500,000, but judges at the Court of Appeal dismissed his claim, meaning the mother of three will now receive the £2.7m payout.
I am very pleased with the ruling in favour of Mrs Briers, which recognised that a full and final settlement of the couple's financial affairs had never been concluded.
Although 10 years passed between the divorce and Mrs Briers’ application for a financial remedy order, the key issue here is not that this is a retrospective application.
The message here is that unless you give full and frank disclosure of your financial situation at the time of divorce, a court can revisit this, even 10 years down the line. The court found that Mr Briers' failure to honestly disclose his assets meant that Mrs Briers has not given her informed consent to the settlement.
It's crucial that you embody any agreement in a court order so there can be no dispute in the future over a financial settlement by either party.