A $2M Consequence For a Husband’s Non-disclosure
The underlying legal requirement for each party in a property settlement is ‘full and frank disclosure”. When it doesnâ€™t happen in a consent order the court has the power to set aside the order and make a new one.
In a recent case the husband was found – 10 years after the consent orders were finalised – to have failed to “fully disclose”Â some of the real values of the properties. The court decision resulted in the husband having to pay the wife almost $2 Million more.
The Appeal Court of the Family Court dismissed the husband’s appeal against an order setting aside the consent order as a result of his failure to disclose to the wife “significant information”.
The trial Judge had found that there was a lack of disclosure causing a ‘miscarriage of justice’ by reason of the husband’s failure to disclose a representation made by him to a bank that one of the properties had a value of $700,000 not $500,000 which is what he originally claimed on the consent order.
It was the view of the trial Judge that if the representation had been disclosed, that the wife would have been on notice of the discrepancy between that representation as to value and the significantly different representation as to the value made in the consent order. The wife was denied that knowledge, and the opportunity to make further enquires as she might choose. She was also denied the opportunity to negotiate settlement terms that may have reflected the difference.
The consent order was set aside not because the property may or may not have had particular value, but because the wife’s consent was not a fully informed consent.
If you have any questions regarding â€˜full and frankâ€™ disclosure involved in a Property Settlement, please contact us to speak to one of our Family Law Accredited Specialists.