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Family Law

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07 APR 2009

Prison term for husband who failed to provide information

A former company director from Nottingham has recently spent twelve days in jail for failing to provide the divorce court with full details of his financial circumstances.

The Judge at the Nottingham County Court found him to be in contempt of Court and ordered that he serve 28 days, although he was released after twelve.

The man was accused of not providing details of money owed to him, details relating to numerous large transactions and other financial information. Whilst he did provide some information it was deemed to be incomplete and insufficient.

Angela Davis of Nottingham law firm Berryman comments: "A person guilty of non disclosure could, as is the case here, be found guilty of contempt of Court and a prison sentence could be imposed, or they could be at risk of the Court drawing adverse inferences about his or her finances.

"Furthermore, if someone is found to be 'guilty' of a material non-disclosure, an application could be made to revisit and even set-aside any final Court Order. This is likely if it can be shown that if the correct information had been known, this would have resulted in a substantially different order being made.

"Whilst these applications are rare, they can be extremely time consuming and costly. If you are found to be 'guilty' of a material non disclosure, it is also likely that you would be penalised and ordered to pay any legal costs arising from the matter going back to Court.

"Honesty really is the best policy to avoid such a situation," says Davis. "The duty to provide full and frank disclosure is an ongoing one and can feel like an onerous task. People can become frustrated with the disclosure process though it is not one that should be taken lightly, and they can feel there are some facts which are not relevant. However, it is exactly these kinds of issues that can come back to haunt people at a later date."

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