The cost of “self-help” in a divorce
The issue of breach of confidentiality hit the headlines this week with Mrs Santi, ex-wife of millionaire Lawrence Santi being ordered by a Judge to pay a huge £54,000 in costs to her ex-husband (representing 60% of his total legal bill) after a Judge found that she had breached his confidentiality by accessing documents including his bank statements in pursuit of proof that he was having an affair. Mrs Santi also gave undertakings to the Court and promised to return any documents she still had in her possession.
The Judge made it clear that invasions of privacy, which include reading or taking documents addressed to another or accessing information on a computer belonging to another, are unlawful (or in the later case illegal) and will not be sanctioned by the Court.
Whilst it is not uncommon for a divorcing spouse to take matters into their own hands to try to expose an affair, or to uncover financial documents that they believe might not be openly disclosed, in doing so they are likely to be breaching their former partner’s right to confidentiality.
This case is a salutary reminder that, as tempting as it may be, documents addressed to another should not be obtained and removed either by yourself or through any third party, nor should attempts be made to hack into a computer owned by another. If such documents are passed to your solicitor, they will have an obligation to disclose them and in certain situations may have to cease acting.
Specialist family solicitors
If you believe your ex-spouse may not be complying with their duty of full and frank financial disclosure and you need advice about what to do, our friendly team of expert family solicitors are on hand to help.
The GL Law Family Team are currently offering a Free Discovery Call to help you to find out where you stand legally and to provide advice on your next best steps. To contact our team today, please call 0117 906 9400 or email email@example.com