Q: I have been unhappy in my marriage for many years due to my husband's philandering, but I have stayed with it because he owns a very successful business that gives us a comfortable lifestyle and a good social life. However, as I become older I find I am less tolerant of his affairs and think I would like to get a divorce and start again before it is too late. What concerns me is that my husband may try to play down his success and hide the financial evidence. As he has always handled our finances I probably would not even know. What should I do?
A: During the divorce process both you and your husband will be required to produce full and honest statements setting out your financial positions. When these statements are exchanged your Solicitor will scrutinise your husband's statement and look for anything that suggests funds may have been hidden. If your Solicitor believes there is a need, he or she can request that the court ask for a realistic and reasonable quantification of your husband's funds.
The court will then look at the scale of your husband's business activities and lifestyle in comparison with the funds he has disclosed. If necessary the opinion of a forensic accountant can be sought. Based on their findings the court will estimate what they believe to be the real value of your husband's funds and make an award that is cost proportionate to the determined asset value.
There is no set formula when it comes to the court working out how the financial settlement is split. Usually the court takes a ‘needs and resources' approach but if your husband is found to have been concealing funds the court is likely to take a very dim view and their decision may reflect that.