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Use of material revealed during divorce process

  • gravitino
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24 Jul 12 #345040 by gravitino
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My partner''s ex-husband revealed significant disdain for the taxman, council planning processes, and the safety of his tenants (among others) in documents he submitted during the divorce process.

For example, to demonstrate the urgency of repairs to a block of flats he owns, he submitted a letter from a council executive which discussed the danger posed by the unrepaired exterior. A year on, he still has not started these repairs.

Is my partner (who is also a shareholder in the owning company) entitled to write to the aforementioned council executive to warn him of the danger still posed? Is she entitled to write to the tenants of the block to warn them of the danger?

Is she also entitled to write to HMRC to tell them of his dodgy tax practices?

  • Marshy_
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24 Jul 12 #345059 by Marshy_
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Hi Grav.

Why are you suggesting these actions? Is it revenge? If yes, then revenge is best done by getting on with yr life. If he is doing wrong, his turn will come. And you shouldnt be getting involved. C.

  • TBagpuss
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24 Jul 12 #345064 by TBagpuss
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be very cautious.

Family cases are private and the information was disclosed for the purpose of the proceedings, not any other reason.

If your partner wants to disclose the information for purposes other than the one they were provided for,I would strongly recommend that you seek the court''s permission to do so. That way, she is covered.

if the information is information whcih she has or is entitled to in her capacity as a shareholder then I think she would be within her rights to diosclose it, but I would still be more comfortable asking for permission to be on the safe side.
I would have expected the council to follow up if they are aware of the danger.

Regardsing HMRC she is on even dodgier ground, as she doesn''t have the ''excuse'' of being a shareholder or of any concernsre: safety. If she is absolutely determined to say something then an anonymous tip off might be wiser than creating a paper trail by writing, but as Marshy says, if this is about getting back at him, the best revenege is a life well lived. She''s divorced from him, why let him carry on taking up space in her life or her thoughts?

  • gravitino
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25 Jul 12 #345235 by gravitino
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Thank you to all who responded.

I am slightly surprised at the gist of the replies: considerations about motive seem to take precedence over any desire to be a good citizen e.g. by reporting tax dodging or a continuing danger to tenants and passers-by.

Yes, revenge may be a small part of the motive, but I don''t think that matters.

The principal motive is to persuade her three adult sons -- all over 25, all of whom still live with her very wealthy ex-husband -- that what he is doing is an unacceptable way to behave.

My partner''s divorce solicitor declined to get involved in the criminal law aspects of trying to bring a halt to the harassment actions they continue to perpetrate, and advised her to go to the police, which she has done on several occasions. I do not see why she should not go to other public bodies such as HMRC and the local council to remedy the ex''s shoddy behaviour.

His tax-evasion behaviour (e.g. routinely filling all four children''s cars with petrol and charging it to the business) directly affects her now, because it affects the calculation of the final settlement she will get next month.

Challenging these points via professional advisers is expensive and delays the final settlement. Furthermore, as her ex is now using their solicitor son to write all his legal letters, she finds it very hurtful.

Her ex has worked on his own for over 30 years as a landlord, using money gifted to him by his middle-eastern parents. He has been poorly inculturated into this country, and he has already been brought down with a bump by the use of the 1997 Harassment act. But he has taught his children to lie and to conceal things from public bodies. "If you can get away with it, it''s fine" would seem to be his motto.

  • dukey
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25 Jul 12 #345237 by dukey
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Marshy talks sense TBagpuss speaks as a respected solicitor, not personal opinion, disclosure during proceedings is privileged to use for another purpose is contempt, again as said get permission or even wiser do as Marshy says and leave it alone.

Be happy, and if anything leave those enough rope to hang themselves, be ever so careful with the tax man and court, they both have way more power than most understand.

  • Fiona
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25 Jul 12 #345245 by Fiona
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Information given in financial proceedings is confidential and your partner would be in contempt of court to disclose it elsewhere without permission from the court. If the husband has been evading tax investigations could delay the settlement considerably and any money owed to the taxman and fines would reduce the amount of the matrimonial pot available to share.

The children, whatever their age, are likely to rally to the side of their father so your partner would in effect bring about her own alienation and the family rifts could never heal.

The motivation to be a good citizen on divorce appears rather hollow when someone was married, has grown up children with their spouse and benefitted from dodgy dealings for many years.

  • gravitino
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26 Jul 12 #345476 by gravitino
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Fiona, thanks for the reply.

I need to understand more about contempt of court. We strongly suspect that the ex-husband was in the habit of forwarding every softcopy legal letter (and attachments) from their mother''s solicitor to all three of their sons. He did this to bind them in to working as a team against their mother.

Although his approach of getting the offspring to take sides goes against all the advice of practical divorce books, no-one ever suggested that his forwarding of these legal documents was contempt of court. Should they have done?

As a side point, I don''t believe that further alienation is possible. The adult children have all bought into the ex-husband''s culture of hate and abuse, which was the dominant reason why she left him in the first place. Until they leave his house or get long-term partners, there is no chance of their becoming reformed.

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