Ex-wives await ruling on claims for bigger divorce settlement


Two ex-wives who say they should get more money after divorcing are waiting to hear whether they have won a Supreme Court fight.

Alison Sharland, who is in her late 40s and from Wilmslow, Cheshire, and Varsha Gohil, who is in her early 50s and from north London, say their ex-husbands misled judges about how much they were worth.

Both want their claims re-analysed at fresh hearings. Their ex-husbands disagree.

Supreme Court justices analysed the disputes at a hearing in London in June and are due to rule today.

Judges in the High Court and Court of Appeal have already analysed the issues.

Lawyers say the cases raise questions of general public importance and could affect other divorced couples.

Supreme Court justices were told that both women had reached agreements with their ex-husbands after beginning litigation.

Both subsequently thought that they had been misled.

Mrs Sharland accepted more than £10 million in cash and properties from ex-husband Charles three years ago, justices were told.

Mrs Gohil accepted £270,000 plus a car from her husband Bhadresh more than a decade ago.

Justices heard that Mrs Sharland claimed that her ex-husband misled her over the value of a business.

Lawyers said she thought the business was valued at between £31 million and £47 million but reports in the financial press put the value at £1 billion.

Mrs Gohil's husband was convicted of money laundering following their divorce, justices heard.

Neither woman has yet said how much they want, but both say their claims should be re-examined and all evidence now available considered.

Lawyer John Darnton, a partner at law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, said: "The decision of the Supreme Court will be of huge interest to individuals who feel that their partner may have tried to mislead the court within financial proceedings on divorce, but it could have far wider implications on the effects of non-disclosure in divorce."

Lawyer Renato Labi, a partner at law firm Hughes Fowler Carruthers, said: "As the law currently stands, if a spouse has been found to have lied about his or her finances, family courts can only overturn a financial order if those hidden assets or income would have made a substantial difference.

"The Supreme Court will decide whether that is fair, or whether any dishonesty - however small - can reopen an order. A change in the law could mean even more lengthy and expensive litigation."