Divorce & Fraud

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Monday, June 8, 2015.

People question their divorce agreements, suspecting their spouse lied. Two ex-wives in London are not just questioning, they’re taking their suspicions to the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court. What happens in Florida when one spouse suspects fraud?

As the Guardian reports:

Charles Sharland and Bhadresh Gohil are accused of concealing the value of their assets. Their former spouses are seeking to reopen financial negotiations on the grounds that the courts were provided with fraudulent evidence.

The hearing, before seven justices at the supreme court in Westminster, London, will assess whether non-disclosure entitles a claimant to reinstate a concluded divorce trial.

The applications by Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil, both represented by the law firm Irwin Mitchell, have been joined for the justices to examine the impact of fraud on matrimonial disputes.

Sharland had accepted more than £10m in cash and properties from her ex-husband in the settlement but it later emerged that the shares in his company were worth considerably more than previously revealed. One estimate put the firm’s value at $1bn (£656m).

Gohil had accepted £270,000 plus a car in her divorce settlement in 2004. But it later became clear that her husband, who was tried and jailed for fraud and money-laundering sums of up to £37m, had not given the court accurate information about his finances

“Both cases raise serious issues about how the courts should handle cases where information shared with the court and used to agree a divorce settlement is later found to be false or incomplete.”

I’ve written about fraud in family law before. In Florida, it’s possible to overturn a final judgment based on fraud. But it’s not as simple as merely proving fraud.

That’s because there are different types of fraud. For example, did your husband lie to you about where the courthouse was, or did you lie to him about whether he was the father of your child?

Courts also feel pressure to make final judgments final. Claims of fraud therefore need a trial to explan the facts and circumstances. It is rare for a court to determine the presence or absence of fraud without a trial or some kind of evidentiary hearing.

Allegations of fraud involve the intent of the alleged wrongdoer, and require judges to evaluate the credibility of witnesses and the evidence. If you suspect there was fraud in your case, you will want to consult with a board certified expert marital and family attorney.

For the Guardian article click here.