Moher v Moher

Posted on 17 January 2020

Moher v Moher

Moher v Moher [2019] EWCA Civ 1482. This case concerned an application for a financial remedy after a 21 year marriage. At first instance, the judge had found that the husband had failed to provide full and frank disclosure. The husband was ordered to pay the wife a lump sum of £1.4M and periodical payments. The husband appealed, arguing that the judge had failed to quantify the scale of the undisclosed assets, and so had failed to properly evaluate the parties' resources. He also appealed against other aspects of the judge's order, including provision that he was to make periodical payments to the wife until he had obtained a Get.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the husband's appeal. Moylan LJ, giving the lead judgment, did not consider that the court must give a figure or a bracket for undisclosed wealth when faced with non-disclosure. To do so would be contrary to the over-riding objective. He set out the following broad conclusions as to the approach the court should take in such circumstances, namely that (i) it should seek to ascertain the extent of the financial resources of the non-disclosing party; (ii) it should draw such inferences as were appropriate in the circumstances (without getting drawn into speculation); (iii) it was not required to make a specific determination as to a figure or bracket; and (iv) it was entitled to infer that the resources were such that its proposed order represented a fair outcome.

Moylan LJ further considered that the court had jurisdiction to order periodical payments to continue until the husband had taken the necessary steps for obtaining a Get.

Claire Yorke notes: "This case is a reminder of the principle that the court will endeavour to ensure the non-discloser does not obtain a better outcome than that which would have been ordered had they complied with their disclosure obligations. The court will use its discretion to achieve fairness and will actively make findings against those who seek to frustrate this exercise. Where a husband attempts to exert control over his wife by delaying the pronouncement of the GET, he is prolonging the marriage and therefore should expect to be held to his financial obligations as a spouse, including the provision of maintenance".

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