Financial Issues In Divorce
The firm specialises in providing advice on divorce, separation and related family issues, with particular emphasis on financial disputes involving complex business interests.
Understanding Asset Division in Divorce
The court uses the starting point of equal division of assets between the parties, but there are many reasons why all assets may not be divided equally, for example:
- The assets must be net of liabilities, including tax mortgages and documented loans. Family loans may be treated as “soft“ and discounted.
- The starting point of equality only applies to marital assets, that is those acquired by the efforts of both, or either party during the marriage (including immediate previous cohabitation).
- But the court has to consider all the sharing principles in the light of needs especially those of dependent children.
Note that the principle of sharing equally does not apply to future income. Any maintenance for dependent spouses is dependent upon reasonable need, generously interpreted.
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Mrs X had been advised by a previous lawyer to accept a settlement which would have meant she had to give up her home to be divided with her husband , even though he had a business which she believed had substantial value and her family had provided the original home base . We acted for her in hard fought proceedings in the Central Family Court in London , involving the use of a QC on her behalf and significant disputed disclosure which eventually revealed the husband’s business had a value of several million pounds . As a result , and eventually by agreement , she retained the former matrimonial home with a further £1million settlement as well as child support .
Mr Y had been badly advised in his original disclosure documents filed at court, making it appear he was much wealthier than he was and that he was unwilling to cooperate with the court process. We overhauled his disclosure, to demonstrate that his net assets after taking all borrowing into account, were provably modest. As a result, his wife agreed to a fair settlement without trial.
Mr Z’s wife insisted that her husband had not been involved in the family firm in her name , and offered a derisory settlement . We presented the evidence of the husband’s contribution in detail and clarified the value of the business, which persuaded the wife to make a fair offer so that the case could be settled without trial .
Mrs A’s husband was a dentist with a significant practice and pension. She suffered from long term chronic ill health. The husband sought a clean break, which was inappropriate , and that case went to trial where Penny Raby & Co succeeded in safeguarding Mrs A’s future with an order for spousal maintenance , a pension share and retention of the former matrimonial home.
“Dear Penny and Mike, I appreciated your fax – at last I can put the past behind me and live for the moment. No words can describe how grateful I am for everything that you have done to make this possible. Penny – you have been more than my lawyer throughout the ordeal; you were my friend. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I thought – as you have no idea what I look like! – that you would enjoy this tangible proof of a happy ending. **** and I married on May 13th in Barbados – just the four of us, **** and I, his brother and wife. A perfect ceremony in the garden.”