It is not unusual that one party to financial remedy proceedings on divorce will believe that the other party possesses assets that they have failed to disclose.
But a recent case was a rather extreme example of this situation: the husband alleged that the wife had concealed the ownership of a diamond ring, with an estimated value of £2 million.
The case concerned an application by the husband to set aside a consent order made in 2021, setting out a financial settlement that the parties had then agreed.
The primary reason why the husband maintained that the consent order should be set aside was that he alleged that the wife had failed to disclose that she owned a diamond ring worth £2 million.
The husband claimed that he had received a tip-off that the wife was selling the ring at auction, having purchased it some years previously at a car boot sale, when it was sold as costume jewellery.
The wife denied that she had possessed the ring.
To support his case the husband applied for a witness summons against the auctioneer.
The auctioneer duly attended court, but unfortunately his evidence did not support the husband’s case. As the District Judge, hearing the case, explained:
“The story of the diamond being found at a car boot sale, being valued by his auction house, and then being given a value of £2 million, was just that, a story, completely fabricated by him, to stir up interest in his failing auction business in a post pandemic era. The car boot story, read by the husband, given to the press and the world in general was a lie, to generate some media interest for this diamond and the commission a sale would bring to his business.”
Unsurprisingly, the husband’s case then fell apart. He had failed to prove that the wife had had the ring.
Accordingly, the District Judge found that there had not been material non-disclosure by the wife. The husband’s application was therefore dismissed.
The case is obviously an example of the importance of ensuring that you have the evidence that you need to support your case, before taking the case to the court.
You can read the full report of the case here.
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