Dealing with hidden assets on divorce
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Monday of this week was the start of Foster Care Fortnight in the UK.
The Hollywood actress Parminder Nahra (famous for her roles in Bend it Like Beckham and ER), is reportedly being pursued through the America courts by her husband (James Stenson), from whom she has separated, for half of the value of three houses which he says they bought together, plus damages.
Stenson is allegedly claiming that the three homes were all purchased through a ‘shell’ corporation set up in his wife’s name.
Recently, the High Court has reflected on how to deal with a situation where one spouse alleges that the other is failing to provide full and frank financial disclosure on divorce.
In England and Wales, where one party has failed to be up front about their finances the court can draw adverse inferences during financial proceedings, looking at the direct evidence available (such as documents), and then looking at more general matters like the scale of business activities and lifestyle. They will then use this to estimate the value of the hidden assets and use that value when making their decision. This therefore gives the courts the power to ensure that parties cannot profit from any dishonesty in their divorce proceedings, as a clear warning to anyone contemplating conveniently ‘forgetting’ about a bank account or asset when getting divorced.
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