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Wife wins right to appeal divorce settlement

The Supreme Court will hear an appeal from the ex-wife of a software tycoon who she says lied about the value of his assets in court.
Alison Sharland’s divorce settlement was £10 million, which she accepted after her marriage broke up in 2012. Charlie Sharland, her former husband, received £5.4 million in the settlement and it was agreed that he would keep more of the money coming in from the sale of shares in his business.
His business, AppSense, was valued at just over £47 million at the time of the divorce settlement. However, Alison Sharland discovered that her husband had purposely kept this information from the court and had actually lied as his company could be worth in excess of £500 million.
After appealing the divorce settlement in the High Court, the judge, Sir Hugh Bennett agreed with Alison Sharland that her ex-husband Charlie Sharland had in fact lied in court and had withheld relevant information regarding the value of his company.
However, even though the information had been concealed from the court by Mr Sharland, the settlement of £10 million that was given to Alison Sharland would not have been that significantly different even if the company, AppSense had been correctly valued at £500 million.
At the hearing in the Court of Appeal, three judges presided over the case, and although two out of the three upheld the decision made by Sir Hugh Bennett, Lord Justice Briggs did not.
LJ Briggs commented that Mr Sharland’s dishonesty made a mockery of the whole agreement and therefore gave Alison Sharland leave to appeal as a matter of public importance.
Don Bird, head of Family law at Atherton Godfrey, said: “The outcome of this case may have repercussions in all divorce settlements where it can be proven that a spouse has intentionally concealed funds or assets.”
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