High net worth individuals pay solicitors to navigate divorce and family law issues, because of their expertise in everything from divorce and child arrangements to complex business issues and asset management.
The problem is choosing the right high net worth divorce solicitor to help you get positive results.
Here are the most common problems our clients face and what we do to solve them.
The myth about high net worth divorce solicitors
They are just after your money, don't care about your personal issues and provide poor client care. They'll try and perpetuate the conflict between two partners to ensure things go to court.
That is a myth.
While divorce law can be unpredictable, our personal commitment to your personal issues are not. We guarantee:
- To try and make your life better and easier
- Dedication and sympathy to your case
- Outstanding communication and client care
- Fresh perspectives and ideas
- Second opinions and a "never say die" attitude
- Track record of winning and getting positive results for clients
What does a positive family law outcome look like for you?
A positive family law outcome looks different for everyone.
You might be trying to keep the family home in your name, protect your business interests, or get the best possible arrangements for your children.
Protecting the interests of your family is paramount, particularly where children are involved. You may choose mediation or a private FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution) and compromise over going to court.
However, when you deem the other party to be unreasonable, it's time to partner with a cutting-edge legal team with experience of acting for high net worth clients.
Using a collaborative approach
The collaborative approach to divorce involves a settlement for matters including child arrangements or money. These meetings can help divorce lawyers to explore the options available, within a collaborative atmosphere and with the support they require at hand. Some family lawyers are professional collaborators trained to help you through the process.
So what is a high net worth divorce?
A divorce is considered to be high net worth if the couple has significant wealth and assets, such as a property portfolio businesses, substantial savings and investments or pensions. The value of a couple's assets can also change during the divorce process, which is why it's important to have a solicitor who is up-to-date with the latest case law and changes in divorce law both internationally and in Jersey.
Assets and trusts in high net worth divorces
High net worth divorce cases often include trusts. Wealth held in trusts can be quite significant; as a result, the way the trust assets are handled may have a crucial impact on the case's outcome. Attacking and defending both onshore and offshore trusts is a time-consuming process.
Spouses who are not interested in, or have access to, the other spouse's trust interests can claim that the trust is a financial resource that should be considered during divorce proceedings, or that it has a nuptial characteristic making it capable of being varied in favour of the parties and/or children of the family.
Protecting business assets
A privately-owned business is frequently the most valuable asset in high-value divorces.
It's a difficult process to estimate the worth of a private company. If, for example, the firm is operational and has assets all over the world, which are held in a confusing tangle of onshore and offshore corporate and trust structures, it can be difficult to establish the value.
In high-net-worth divorces, the classification of assets as matrimonial or non-matrimonial is likely to be more crucial than in typical divorces.
Non-matrimonial assets may be found in a variety of forms. A property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage but does not become the marital home will most likely be considered non-matrimonial.
A non-matrimonial asset purchased after the parties' divorce may well be determined to be such by a court, since it occurs outside the marriage duration.
In general the court will not seek to share the non-matrimonial property with the other spouse during a divorce unless the needs of the children or other spouse are affected.
Spouses with non-matrimonial assets frequently have disputes about why these assets should not be divided in divorce in high net worth cases.
My partner is hiding assets, what next?
Trusts, offshore accounts and even charities are common ways that people hide their assets.
Non-disclosure comes in a variety of forms. A non-discloser, for example, may move money from their declared bank accounts to other non-declared bank accounts. Non-disclosers may move their wealth offshore into corporate structures and trusts.
You are entitled to examine all bank and credit card accounts your spouse has maintained over the previous 12 months, as well as those of any family members, if justified.
If you believe your ex is not being forthright and honest with you about their financial dealings, you should seek specialist advice assist you in obtaining the correct information and evaluating it. We are highly skilled and experienced in undertaking forensic examinations of financial disclosure to spot not disclosure.
Distribution of wealth in high net worth divorces
When it comes to spouses' financial remedy applications in all divorce situations, the court's major aim is to arrive at a reasonable conclusion that is fair to both parties.
In divorce cases with high net worth individuals, where the family has lived a very comfortable lifestyle and possesses significant financial resources, the parties' demands will be assessed in a more generous manner than in a typical divorce case.
This may result in the court determining that a spouse "requires" enormous sums, which might be millions of pounds.
There may be extreme circumstances where a spouse has accumulated significant wealth and they may demand that a departure from equality of division of marital assets be granted, because they made an unusual and unrivalled financial investment during marriage.
It is critical for the economically weaker spouse to defend any special contribution claim. Even the tiniest departure from equality may result in millions, or even billions of pounds of profit or loss when the parties have large wealth.
International and overseas divorce
High net worth individuals often have interests and lifestyles that take them to different countries around the world.
Where the parties have connections with multiple jurisdictions, there can be disputes about the right jurisdiction for the divorce proceedings.
This matters because the UK is often hailed as ‘the divorce capital of the world’ for its broad authority to achieve a fair financial outcome in divorce, many other jurisdictions are inflexible or provide significantly less generous financial support.