Can I refuse to provide evidence regarding my new partner's finances during my divorce?

When the parties to a divorce exchange financial information through statements known as Forms E there is a question that asks for an overview of the financial position of new partners if you are living together or intend to.  You are asked to provide brief details of their income, assets and liabilities ‘as far as they are known to you.’  The question is not intended to cover a scenario where you have started seeing someone, but there is no current intention to live together. 

If you say that you have no knowledge of your partner’s income and capital it is possible for the court to compel your new partner to provide information in some circumstances.  To compel a third party to provide such evidence is however a significant step for the court to take and it is not done lightly. 

The court is only likely to make such an order if it considers that disclosure is needed to dispose fairly of the proceedings or to save costs.  It therefore depends very much on the circumstances of the case and whether the court would be unable to resolve a question that is important to a party’s case without having the evidence available. 

For example if you are seeking on-going spousal maintenance from your spouse, but you are cohabiting with someone who is obviously very wealthy information regarding their financial position is clearly relevant.  If there is nothing to suggest that your new partner is well off and it does not appear that they are supporting you financially then the court is much less likely to consider it necessary to compel them to provide evidence. 

It is worth bearing in mind however that the court expects the parties to deal with each other and, crucially, the court honestly.  If you refuse to provide any information in circumstances when it appears very likely that the information is available to you this is unlikely to be well received by the court. 

If you require any further assistance, or wish to book in for an initial consultation to discuss your situation, our family solicitors are based in both Wolverhampton, Cradley Heath and Sutton Coldfield serve clients across the West Midlands. For all new enquiries, please call 01902 328 365 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will respond.