Anyone who is engaged in divorce proceedings in the UK is legally obliged to disclose their financial assets to the other party in full. That includes income from all sources, such as businesses or employment, investments and properties, along with any and all other assets. Alongside details of assets and other investments, at least a year’s worth of bank statements must be included plus details of debts or other liabilities.
Everything is outlined on a document of disclosure called a Form E, which you can download from the government website or usually your lawyer will provide you with the necessary papers to complete.
Lying about the information to be provided on this form may be considered as perjury, a criminal offence potentially punishable by a jail sentence. It is important to ensure that the details you provide are complete and accurate in all respects.
Unfortunately, not everyone follows the rules to the letter and dishonest declarations have been known to include:
- Underestimated valuations of business interests
- Vague or incomplete information concerning offshore bank accounts
- Non-disclosure of marital assets hidden within a company’s accounts
- Attempts to transfer assets to third parties at an undervalue to avoid disclosure
- Claims of non-existent or overstated debts
- Failure to disclose more recent and alternative financial assets, such as Bitcoin or PayPal accounts – the former in particular is popular because of the perceived anonymity
- Handing over assets to a family member or members, or other third parties, to hold until the divorce is finalised
(This list is not exhaustive, by the way.)
All assets transferred to third parties or family members within three years of a divorce can potentially count towards what could be classed as an improper transaction. Meanwhile, misleading statements can be categorised as litigation misconduct.
Additionally, the end owner of every financial account needs to be properly identified and it’s now easier than ever to do this worldwide using modern technology and legally permissible techniques.
After submission of both parties’ Form E, it’s possible to raise questions about anything which appears unclear including suspicions of hidden assets and earnings, for example if there is a clear discrepancy between your soon-to-be ex-partner’s expenditure and their declared income. And you can ask a forensic accountant to look into this.
If there has been a material misrepresentation, or a new event has occurred, a financial settlement that was supposed to be final can be reopened. This will all depend on the particular facts of a case, and may not always be possible however.
How we can help
At Hayes Forensics, we can address the details of your financial situation and carry out further financial investigations into the other party, which can reveal hidden assets as part of a divorce process. We’ll work with your lawyers to get the best results for you, providing specialist guidance for court submissions and cross-examination. If you need independent expert evidence and witness statements, again we can help.
We recommend that you seek our advice at an early stage to ensure that you can have the best chance to identify potential problems, and avoid having to find out something at a later stage when you may not be able to do anything about it.
Having us alongside you from the start means we’ll be with you every step of the way. If you’re going through the often difficult and stressful journey of divorce we can take care of the necessary financial details while you concentrate on all the other issues, especially where children are involved.
Get in touch today to learn more.