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The First Wives Club by Beth Mason

28/08/15

Michelle Young, former wife of the late Scot Young, has established the Michelle Young Foundation (informally known as the First Wives Club) to support victims of non-disclosure in family proceedings and to petition for tougher sanctions for those who fail to disclose their assets.

Young v Young was a long running and highly contested legal battle in which Mrs Young was eventually awarded £20 million of the £400 million she claimed Mr Young was hiding.  She has not received any of it.

Non-disclosure is a real problem in the family courts and can lead to costly and stressful litigation.  While there are steps that can be taken to identify and locate hidden assets, such steps are expensive and not guaranteed to succeed. 

Failure to disclose assets in family proceedings can constitute contempt of court and is punishable by imprisonment.  In reality however, imprisonment is rare and even when it does happen it does not necessarily secure funds.  Mr Young was imprisoned for six months during the proceedings but Mrs Young has still not received any money.

The Michelle Young Foundation calls for criminal sanctions to be imposed on those who fail to disclose their assets as well as tougher cost consequences.  Whether they will have any success in their bid, and whether such sanctions would have any effect on the actual recovery of funds, remains to be seen.

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