Navigating Complex Divorces: Understanding the Intricacies & Challenges of Financial Arrangements & High-Value Assets

Complex divorces are characterized by intricate financial arrangements, ownership structures, overseas jurisdictions, high-value assets, inheritance, pensions, and points of law. These separations typically involve challenging elements like non-disclosure of assets and can be more difficult than typical cases.

Property & Assets – Dividing property and assets is often a difficult part of divorce. Residential properties can be a source of conflict, with both spouses feeling entitled to stay. Communication and compromise are necessary, and the court will prioritize the interests of any children or dependents involved.

Family Business – Deciding the future of a family business can be difficult and may require sensitive negotiations. Accurate valuation is essential, and issues such as dual operation, shareholders, and extended family involvement must be considered. The level of involvement of each spouse must be clarified, and courts may need to get involved if no agreement can be reached, even imposing a sale of the business if necessary.

Hiding, or Non-Disclosure of Assets – Full disclosure of assets is crucial in a divorce case, and failing to do so could result in penalties from the courts. If you suspect your partner is hiding assets, seek legal advice immediately and consider using forensic accountants to uncover any discrepancies. Transparency is key to minimizing difficulties in divorce.

High Net Worth – High net worth divorces involve more valuable assets and complicated financial arrangements, such as businesses and trusts, which may also have international implications.

Pre & Post-Nuptial Agreements – Pre and post-nuptial agreements are becoming more common in the UK, although they are not legally binding. A prenuptial agreement determines how assets will be divided in the event of separation before the marriage takes place, while a postnuptial agreement is entered into after the marriage has begun. Both parties must enter into these agreements freely for them to be effective, and they offer protection for high-value assets. These agreements are now being referenced in court cases.

International Dimensions – Divorces involving multiple nationalities, overseas business interests, and international assets can be complicated, especially when determining which country has legal jurisdiction. Legal advice should be sought early on to establish the best jurisdiction. Child arrangements can also be challenging, particularly if one parent wants to move the children abroad. Offshore trusts, international businesses, and foreign tax structures can further complicate matters, with offshore jurisdiction making complete disclosure difficult.

Thursfields is a full-service law firm with experience in difficult divorce cases, family law, commercial matters, wills and trusts, and specialised fields. To find out more information, click here.

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