Two women who wanted their divorce settlements increased because they claimed their ex-husbands misled courts have today won their cases at the Supreme Court.
Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil say the men hid the true extent of their wealth when the deals were made.
This is the first time the Supreme Court hasexamined how much a person can lie about assets before a divorce deal can be scrapped or renegotiated.
This could pave the way for many more people to seek to renegotiate settlements reached in earlier divorce settlements
Hidden wealth of ex husbands
Ms Sharland, from Wilmslow in Cheshire finalised her divorce in 2010 and , accepted £10m from her husband Charles, a software entrepreneur.
Under the settlement, she was to also receive 30% of the proceeds of shares held by her husband in his company, when he sold them.
She believed then that this represented half of his wealth based on the documents he had disclosed in the course of the proceedings..
However,it later transpired he had lied about his company's value, as well as plans to float it on the stock market. The financial press valued the business at about £600m.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the misleading evidence would not have led to a significantly different divorce settlement for her.
In the second case. Ms Gohil, from north London, accepted £270,000 and a car as a settlement when she divorced her husband Bhadresh in 2002.
In 2010, Mr Gohil was convicted of money laundering and jailed for 10 years.
At his criminal trial, evidence revealed he had failed to disclose his true wealth during the divorce proceedings.
However, the Court of Appeal ruled that information that emerged at his criminal trial could not be used to overturn the couple's settlement.
Both cases will now be sent back to the High Court for new settlements to be concluded based on all the evidence now available.
Sam Bushell Head of Family Law at Brown Turner Ross commented:
"It is important for all wives,and indeed anyone who is getting divorced,that justice has been done and more importantly given the press coverage these cases have received, that justice has been seen to be done.
You cannot have a situation where one party to a divorce effectively lies to the other party & the court and when their lies are exposed, nothing is done to rectify the situation. What we need now are clear guidleines from the Supreme Court as to what criteria will have to be met for a case to be re-opened. I expect a lot of enquiries arising from this decision. If guidelines are not given the floodgates could well open and the courts will be inundated with many claims that will not succeed."
For advice on any aspect of Divorce law call Sam Bushell on 0800 195 7517