Q&As

If one party to financial remedy proceedings on divorce has a very significant inheritance at the outset of the proceedings what are the requirements for them to disclose the extent of that inheritance and when? Can requests for information be made of third parties eg the executor?

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Produced in partnership with Nick Starks of St. Ives Chamber
Published on LexisPSL on 27/08/2020

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Nick Starks of St. Ives Chamber provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • If one party to financial remedy proceedings on divorce has a very significant inheritance at the outset of the proceedings what are the requirements for them to disclose the extent of that inheritance and when? Can requests for information be made of third parties eg the executor?

The court is not specifically referred to the question of inherited assets or the parties’ inheritance prospects by section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 or Part 5 of Schedule 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004. However, the court will consider any inherited assets when making a final order under the headings of the parties’ financial resources, their contributions to the welfare of the family, and ‘all the circumstances of the case’. See Practice Note: Inherited assets.

In financial remedy proceedings the parties owe to each other (and to the court) a duty of full, frank, clear and accurate disclosure. As was said in NG v SG (Appeal: Non-Disclosure):

'1. The law of financial remedies following divorce has many commandments but the greatest of these is the absolute bounden duty imposed on the parties to give, not merely to each other, but, first and foremost to the court, full frank and clear disclosure of their present and likely future financial resources. Non-disclosure is a bane which strikes at the very integrity of the adjudicative process. Without full disclosure the court cannot render a true certain and just verdict. Indeed, Lord Brandon has stated that without it the Court cannot lawfully exercise its powers (see Livesey (formerly Jenkins) v Jenkins [1985] FL

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