I know, I know! I’ve said it over and over again – bring out the repetometer – but if you’re getting divorced you should always get full financial disclosure before negotiating a financial settlement.
If you’ve got no money and I tell you I’ve got two £5 notes and I offer you one of them, that seems fair because I appear to be offering you 50% of what we’ve got between us. If I tell you I’ve got two £5 notes and I offer you one of them but I’ve actually got another £5 note in my pocket, that still seems fair but of course it isn’t. The effect of the £5 note I haven’t owned up to is that what I’m actually offering you is not 50% but 33%.
now, if you’d asked me to tell you how much money I’d got, I might have owned up to the £5 note in my pocket. I might not. If I’d been really devious, the extra £5 note wouldn’t have been in my pocket at all because I’d have given it to a friend to look after for me until it was safe to get it back. There’s no guaranteed way of being certain that you’ve got full disclosure.
But it’s never a good idea not to ask.