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High Net Worth Divorce

Rowlinsons High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers in Cheshire will be by your side, with expert, tailored legal advice. We are specialised in the division of assets in a divorce or separation of high net worth individuals.

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  • High Net Worth Divorce Specialists

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High Net Worth Divorce Solicitors

Our High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers are experts at supporting couples with substantial wealth. We understand how they face a unique set of challenges compared to a normal divorce. Many complex issues must be considered including the valuation and uncovering of extensive assets, often held across international jurisdictions in complicated corporate and trust structures.

Financial matters are not the only issue at stake. High net worth individuals often live fast-paced international - and sometimes public – lives, which means reputations, as well as different teams of professionals, have to be managed.

 

High Net Worth Family Solicitors

At Rowlinsons, our High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers have experience in helping divorcing wealthy couples get the fairest outcome.

We understand that divorce is always a sensitive and emotional time, no matter what your financial status and especially when you have children. As members of Resolution we are committed to a conflict-free, constructive process.

For help with your high net worth divorce get in touch today or arrange a call back. We also have meeting facilities in North Wales to provide a welcoming, confidential space for our family law clients.

 

Understanding the challenges of high net divorce compared to a normal divorce.

High net worth divorces are rarely straightforward and often involve complex legal and commercial issues requiring high levels of legal expertise and robust representation. There can be issues involving international jurisdiction, diverse assets, and reputational risk.

Assets, incomes, and expenses are all much more significant than the average divorce, meaning the stakes are higher. Each step of the process should be approached with expertise and care.

Child arrangements can also be much more complex, with requirements for considerable child maintenance costs, such as school fees for high quality institutions throughout the child’s life.

We will liaise with your financial and personal team to make sure you stay informed without being inundated so you have peace of mind that you can get the best outcome for you, personally and financially.

 

What is a fair result in High Net Worth Divorces?

In England and Wales, the court strives to get a fair outcome. It will seek to meet the needs of both parties involved. However, in a high net worth divorce, it’s a little different as the financial stakes are considerably higher compared with a regular divorce.

With substantial assets, sometimes amounting to hundreds of millions of pounds, the expectations of both parties reflect this accordingly. The accustomed standard of living for high-net-worth couples is higher than normal and the court will take this into account.

This means that ‘needs’ could be millions of pounds, which affects high net worth divorce settlements significantly.

 

How do I deal with trusts in High Net Worth Divorce?

Often onshore or offshore trusts are involved in a high net worth divorce. A trust structure is a common way to protect wealth as part of sensible financial planning. However, dealing with assets held in these is difficult. The complex nature of trusts means the identity of the owners and beneficiaries of the assets can easily be hidden.

Assets tied up in the trust could be considered if it can be proved it is a relevant financial resource or if analysis reveals a nuptial element.

A substantial amount of wealth can be held this way so it’s important to fully understand the purpose of the trust. This information will have a significant impact on the outcome of the financial settlement.

In England and Wales, a request can be made to trustees to disclose discretionary information on the trust including the value and terms of the trust and any historic operations including payments to beneficiaries.

That is not to say the trustees will comply. They will need their own legal representation. The court cannot compel trustees to act a certain way and trustees of overseas trusts may not respond at all or refer to the court in their own jurisdiction.

It is essential to get legal advice early on whether you seek to gain access to or protect funds held in valid trust structures.

 

Will a Prenuptial Agreement affect my High Net Worth Divorce?

If you or your spouse were already considerably wealthy at the time you got married, it is likely you have drafted a pre-nuptial agreement. This is an advisable choice, ensuring the interests of both parties are protected and the division of assets is agreed upon ahead of time.

While not legally binding in the UK, a carefully drafted agreement can greatly influence court proceedings. Unless a good reason is found not to enforce it, it will likely be followed - at least in part. Any prenup between wealthy couples, or that involve high net worth spouses, will consider the high value of the assets, both matrimonial and non-matrimonial, and can serve as the basis for the division of assets in divorce. If you have a prenup agreement with your ex-spouse, contact our substantial wealth divorce solicitors to find out what your best option is.

 

What happens to businesses in HNW Divorce?

A privately owned business is frequently the most valuable asset in a high net worth divorce.

Getting an accurate valuation of a business can be highly complicated, particularly for large companies which may have onshore and offshore assets in complex structures around the world.

Our family lawyers will work closely with our commercial law team, which allows them to expertly advise you on divorce for business owners of companies of all sizes. We can reveal any obscured company ownership structure, get to the bottom of complex financial structures, and find concealed assets.

It can be difficult to distribute business assets on divorce. Where shares are illiquid, or one party would prefer to hold onto their shares, for example to maintain a controlling stake, it may be impractical or impossible to sell shares or even inefficient in tax terms. Company assets may have to be restructured if an agreement cannot be reached and in extreme cases, the company may have to be sold but this is the last resort.

What happens to the family business is frequently the main concern for spouses in a high net worth financial settlement. We’re experienced at negotiating with the other party to help you achieve your goals and protect your business interests in the long term.

 

Can HNW Divorce Lawyers help me manage my reputation?

High net worth individuals can often be consistently in the public eye. We understand the need to tread carefully when dealing with matters in the divorce as you don’t want to risk any damage to your reputation. We’ll help you weigh up the balance between striving for the best deal for you and conducting proceedings respectfully to maintain your good reputation.

 

What can I do if my ex-spouse is hiding assets?

In a divorce in England and Wales, full financial disclosure is required by the court. In a high net worth divorce, it’s not uncommon for the financially stronger spouse to attempt to avoid full financial disclosure to frustrate a financial claim and gain an advantage.

There are many ways to hide assets, including tying the money up in complex corporate or trust structures, transferring funds to undisclosed or offshore bank accounts or transferring property to another party.

Gaining an accurate valuation of assets when they are held in many different complex or hidden locations is challenging. Our family law team works with forensic accountants and other skilled professionals to trace your ex-partner’s undisclosed assets and uncover the true ownership structure.

If you’re concerned that your ex-spouse will move his or her assets away from the reach of the court, we can help you in the application of emergency remedies which will help to reveal the extent of undisclosed assets and thwart any attempt to hide them.

These include:

  • Search orders: where authorities will enter premises owned or occupied by the respondent to look for relevant documentation.
  • Freezing orders: where undisclosed assets are located the other spouse can apply for a freezing order to prevent them from transferring, selling, or dealing with the assets.
  • Imprisonment: in extreme cases the person concealing the assets can be sent to jail.

Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to uncover all hidden assets. When the scale of non-disclosure cannot be fully uncovered at trial you can ask the court to draw adverse inferences against the spouse in question. Sometimes the court can be persuaded that significant wealth is being hidden in undisclosed assets.

 

What is non-matrimonial property?

Non-matrimonial assets are any assets which were built up outside of the marriage. This may be before marriage or after divorce proceedings have begun. These assets often include family businesses and heirlooms which contribute to dynastic or inherited wealth.

The distinction between matrimonial and non-matrimonial property in a high net worth divorce is crucial because of the significant asset value involved. Non-matrimonial property likely won’t be shared. In a standard divorce, non-matrimonial assets may have to be included to meet the needs of both parties in the financial settlement. In cases involving high net worth individuals, the marital assets should be sufficient to meet these needs.

 

What are special contributions in High Net Worth Divorce?

Sometimes one party asks the court for a departure from equal sharing of assets because of what is known as a ‘special contribution.’

The argument is that this individual made such a significant contribution to the couple’s wealth that an exception to the usual rule of equality should apply. These claims are usually made by entrepreneurs, legendary pop stars and inventors who’ve reached stellar heights of success through their work. The courts are reluctant to grant recognition to special contribution claims but it’s important to build a strong case for or against either way.

 

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What International Complications could affect my HNW Divorce?

High net worth individuals often live or own property in a variety of jurisdictions so they have a choice in where they can divorce.

The location of your divorce makes a significant impact on how your case is dealt with. The size of the award and financial settlement may vary dramatically depending on court jurisdiction.

Therefore, choosing the most suitable forum for divorce proceedings has a significant impact on the outcome. The English court system is known for its commitment to a fair financial result for both parties in a divorce whereas other jurisdictions are not as flexible.

This means it’s essential to get advice as soon as possible as you enter high net worth divorce proceedings. Rowlinsons can help with forum disputes to help you secure the most favourable jurisdiction for your high net worth divorce.

 

Tax Consequences

In any divorce, you must consider the ‘net effect’ of a financial settlement, and this is especially true for a high net worth divorce where the tax consequences can run to millions of pounds. We can work closely with your tax advisor and accountants and can refer you to UK tax specialists to help you understand the tax consequences of your proposed financial settlement.

 

Contact Our High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers

Rowlinsons Solicitors can help you reach the best outcome, whatever your circumstances. Our family law specialists are members of Resolution. Our team is approachable, friendly and professional.

We are experienced in dealing with disputes out of court and reaching favourable resolutions for all parties involved. However, rest assured that we can fight for you if a court hearing is necessary.

We provide high net worth individuals with the best legal expertise on hand, no matter what the situation. Rowlinsons Solicitors are proud of the feedback we receive from our clients, and we value our excellent level of client care.

With expert Family Law & Divorce Solicitors based in our Frodsham and Sutton Weaver offices, we are recognised as one of the leading teams of Divorce Solicitors in Cheshire. We regularly help clients throughout the Northwest region including St Helens, Widnes, Warrington, Chester, and Northwich. We are able to act for clients right across England and Wales, so contact our team today.