Two British women, one a former wife of a wealthy Indian-origin solicitor, are on course to set a precedent in UK law by moving the supreme court over “unfair” divorce settlements, claiming their former husbands misled judges about their true worth.
Varsha Gohil, 50, along with another ex-wife, Alison Sharland, 48, argued their ex-husbands “duped” them into accepting “unfair” divorce settlements by deliberately misleading about the true value of their assets during divorce battles.
If the top court rules in their favour, it could pave the way for many more ex-wives seeking to re-negotiate their settlements. London-based Gohil accepted £270,000 and a car as a settlement when she divorced her solicitor husband Bhadresh Gohil in 2002.
In 2010, Bhadresh was convicted of money laundering sums of up to £37 million and jailed for 10 years.
At his criminal trial, evidence found he had failed to disclose his true wealth in divorce proceedings.
However, the Court of Appeal ruled that information that emerged at his criminal trial could not be used to overturn the couple’s settlement.
Ros Bever from the law firm Irwin Mitchell, a specialist family and divorce lawyer representing both women, said courts had “turned a blind eye” to spouses who conceal assets and mislead court for too long.
“To both women, these cases are about a matter of principle and justice,” she said.
“This is yet another case in which an unfair settlement has been agreed because of one party being dishonest and not sharing all the details of their wealth to the courts.”
The hearing, before seven justices at the supreme court in London, will assess whether non-disclosure entitles a claimant to reinstate a concluded divorce trial.
Sharland had accepted more than £10 million in cash and properties from her entrepreneur ex-husband Charles Sharland in the settlement, but it later emerged that the shares in his company were worth considerably more than previously revealed.
Gohil and Sharland’s joint case is expected to conclude by the end of the week.