Landmark Divorce Settlement Ruling After Death Of Partner

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a former civil partner can apply to set aside the financial settlement following their separation, due to evidence which has come to light after one partner’s death.

Ms Helen Roocroft was in an 18-year relationship with Ms Carol Ainscow, a millionaire property tycoon, before they separated in 2009.  Ms Ainscow died intestate in 2013 and, after her death, evidence was discovered that she may have misled the courts about her true wealth during the dissolution of their civil partnership.   There was evidence that the deceased’s income at the time of the financial proceedings was three times that which she had stated in Court documents.

The Court of Appeal handed down judgement on 14 October, with the judges unanimously agreeing that Ms Roocroft has the right to argue for her financial settlement to be set aside so that a new agreement could be negotiated with Ms Ainscow’s estate.  The new agreement will now be negotiated on the basis of an honest an open assessment of her assets.

Ms Ainscow’s family have today issued a statement saying that they are “saddened and disappointed” by the ruling and they will continue to defend the matter.

Whilst reminding us that the Courts do not tolerate dishonesty in any legal proceedings, the case also serves as an important reminder about making Wills for couples, as well as for divorcees or those whose relationships have broken down.

At Forbes Solicitors, our team of specialists are happy to advise on Wills and Estate Planning. Should you require any further information, please contact Lorraine Wilson in our Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts Department on freephone 0800 975 2643 or send any question via our online contact form.

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