A £2.7 million award handed to the former partner of a fashion tycoon over a decade after their divorce has interesting implications for both divorce lawyers and for their clients, as Vivian Cohen, Frenkels Forensics, reports.
The former Mrs Briers divorced her entrepreneurial husband in 2002 after 18 years of marriage.
According to a report in the Express & Star, when the couple divorced, ‘Mr Briers, aged 61, gave his wife, 58, £150,000 to pay off the mortgage and she kept the their £700,000 family home.
‘She also got a £10,000-a-year salary, plus child maintenance – but he kept the business, which is now said to be worth £10 million.’
No, as we can see, she challenged her husband’s initial disclosure of worth and went on to be awarded a further £2.7 million.
We have seen a number of similar cases spring up over the years, where a party (in most cases a wife but not always) has reflected on the initial divorce settlement and – perhaps after the initial complications and emotions have calmed – come to the realisation that they did not get a ‘fair’ deal.
In some cases, this could arise because the party has settled into a new relationship and / or has had the post divorce trauma clarity to see that their former partner had not been frank about their true worth. They may also have been coerced or felt forced to sign something that, quite possibly, shouldn’t have been accepted.
In some matters, such as the case in reference, it could transpire that a partner’s worth (including business assets) were not fully accounted for during the divorce. This is where Frenkels Forensics can assist, when a case is reopened and a new divorce claim is lodged.
We are on hand to provide a forensic analysis of any valuations and also assess the evidence that lawyers have on file from the existing settlement.
Mrs Briers’ case is one of many that have featured recently in the press. All are evidence that a divorce settlement can be reopened and resettled at any time. In addition to offering lawyers more work, this kind of matter requires lawyers to ensure they keep electronic copies of all files to be re-examined at a later date.
It seems nothing is final!
If you have been approached by a client to take steps to reopen a divorce case, please contact us as soon as possible to ensure you have a team of highly experienced, effective and proactive forensic accountants to hand from the very start.
We can look again at Form E and work out if the other party has hidden or misguided the asset value. Frenkels Forensics can also help you to assess the valuations, then and now.
Vivian Cohen is a Partner at Frenkels Forensics.