Panama Papers warning for divorcing couples

Divorcing couples who try to hide their fortunes from a spouse could find themselves under tougher scrutiny following the leak of the “Panama Papers”, a Telford solicitor has warned.

Nadia Davis leads the Family Law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and she said the disclosures unveiled by the leak of confidential papers from a Panama law firm had shone a spotlight on assets and investments.

“It’s clear that there is now a real appetite for an open and uncomplicated approach when it comes to finances, and in divorce cases we have always called for such honesty.

“Now, with so much publicity on the subject, it’s far more likely that divorcing couples will call for greater scrutiny when it comes to their former partner’s finances.”

Nadia was speaking following comments from the new Chair of family law group, Resolution, Nigel Shepherd, who said publicity on the issue was good news as it made it more likely the matter would be investigated “properly”.

It’s claimed that the leaked files from Mossack Fonseca in Panama revealed how some wealthy spouses had stored assets in complicated trust funds held by offshore companies to make it difficult for their partners to find out how much they were worth.

And the ongoing publicity surrounding the files follows hot on the heels of two successful cases in the Supreme Court where two ex-wives said they were duped into ‘unfair’ divorce settlements.

“These decisions set a real precedent on how dishonesty will be treated in family courts, and lawyers believe there could be many other ex-wives or ex-husbands calling for divorce cases to be re-opened if they feel they have been misled during divorce proceedings,” said Nadia.

“It’s not a simple process to re-open a divorce case to dispute a settlement, but if a spouse believes their former partner really was dishonest, there now seems to be more likelihood that a case could be revisited.

“The Panama revelations are also likely to colour future divorce cases too, so the leaks should be taken as a warning to anyone who might be attempting to hide their true worth.”

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