A woman who found that her civil partner had hidden business assets worth millions of pounds during the dissolution of their relationship has won her case in the Court of Appeal.
Experts say the judgement confirms that same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual partners under family law.
The claimant, Helen Roocroft, separated from her partner, Carol Ainscow, in 2009 after an 18-year relationship together. Ms Ainscow, who passed away in 2013 after suffering from a brain tumour, was a wealthy property developer who carried out developments across Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, and London.
Following Ms Ainscow’s death, evidence suggested that she may have misled the courts about her true wealth during the dissolution of their civil partnership.
During their dissolution, Ms Ainscow claimed that her wealth had been significantly reduced following the property crash brought about by the 2008 recession.
This statement eventually led to Ms Roocroft receiving a much lower settlement than she would have received if her partner has been honest about her wealth.
Ms Roocroft appealed to the Court, claiming that the original settlement should be overturned so that a new agreement can be negotiated with the estate based on an honest assessment of their assets.
Following proceedings in the lower Family Court and High Court, the Court of Appeal unanimously agreed that Ms Roocroft has a right to discuss the revision of her settlement.
The Judge said that Ms Roocroft had submitted evidence suggested that “the deceased’s income at the time of consent order was three times that which she had stated in her Statement of Information”.
Ms Roocroft will now have her case re-listed with the High Court to determine the outcome of her claim.