News & Insights

Divorce and financial disclosure

It is clearly accepted that disclosure of one’s financial position in divorce proceedings is crucial.

Both parties to divorce proceedings are expected to give ‘full and frank financial disclosure of all material facts, documents and other relevant issues’. Disclosure is carried out by way of both parties completing a Form E which are then duly exchanged between parties. Once exchanged, if either party feels it is necessary, they can put forward questions to the other side regarding the information given in the Form E.

It is hoped that financial disclosure will be given voluntarily, however there may be a Court Order which sets out when disclosure should take place. An Order made by the Court should be strictly adhered to and there can be serious consequences if it is breached, as illustrated in the recent case of Cherwayko v Cherwayko [2014] EWHC 4252 (Fam).

Here, the Applicant wife applied to the Court to commit the husband to prison for breaching an Order that obliged him to disclose his current financial circumstances by way of bank and credit card statements, documentary evidence for all chattels including cars and shareholdings in any companies.

The husband and his solicitors were fully aware of his obligation to disclose under the Order, however the husband failed to do so by the given date. As a result, the wife applied to the Court for the committal of the husband. The Order was made and a hearing was set for a week later, which the Husband also failed to turn up to. The judge described the husband’s failure to disclose relevant documents as being ‘a blatant and defiant contempt’ and sentenced the husband to 6 months imprisonment, however he stated that the warrant of his arrest will be stayed provided that he complies with the Order to disclose his current financial position. A clear warning to how serious the court takes disclosure in divorce proceedings.