One common concern during a Divorce or Separation is that the other person is hiding assets, income or pension and therefore there will not be a fair financial settlement.
First of all, this is far less common than people think. Generally once someone has decided to start a Divorce and particularly if there are Solicitors involved, then the other party will usually tell the truth. I would hope that this is because their Solicitor has explained to them the need for full and frank disclosure and the implications of not being truthful.
However if this is a concern then it is sensible for both parties to complete a Form E Financial Statement which asks for all information and documentation relevant to finances and includes a Statement of Truth which they have to sign. This Form E can be shown to the Court and the wording of the Statement of Truth makes it clear that it can be seen by the Court in any Court proceedings.
Even if Form E is not used then a shortened disclosure Statement still has to be completed at the end of a Divorce when a Consent Order is filed (known as a Statement of Information) and whilst this only asks for summary figures for income, capital and pensions it also contains a Statement of Truth.
We just looked at the possibility of completing Financial Disclosure voluntarily within a Divorce by using a Form E or Statement of Information. Both of these documents contain a Statement of Truth which is signed by the party completing them. This statement offers an element of protection to the other party because, if later on it appears that one party has been less than truthful about their assets or any other aspect of their financial situation, then the Court could overturn any agreement even if this has become a sealed Order.
Undertakings are also often given to the Court either within Court proceedings or even when there is a Consent Order agreed. This means that one or both parties agree to do certain things (often to pay sums of money to the other person or to a third party) and if undertakings are broken then the Court can send a party to prison.
If one person appears to be hiding something then it is also possible for the Court to order that a third party, such as an Employer, a Bank or an Accountant provide information to the Court or may even be joined as a party to the proceedings.
The Court has far reaching powers and it is very difficult for one party to hide things indefinitely once the Court is involved!