The English courts understand that marriage is a partnership and that the work done in running the home is just as important as the work done outside of it. When it comes to the dissolution of a marriage, therefore the court will do all it can to achieve a fair settlement, with an equal split of the marital assets being the starting point.
The courts approach each case in a nuanced and focussed way, so it is hard to generalise what the outcome might be. A number of factors will be considered, including the length of your marriage and the way your wealth was created. The court will also look to the needs and contributions of both parties.
In all cases, the valuation of the assets involved will be very important. Many will need to be assessed by experts. This is especially true when it comes to business your spouse owns and is involved in – business valuation is highly complex and it is important to be able to understand how this is approached. With in-house corporate expertise, Vardags are used to challenging experts to make sure that valuations are as accurate and fair as possible.
Beyond valuation, the court will look at how your family wealth grew and what your contributions were. Vardags are used to examining the history of relationships and showing the different ways in which you supported your partner as they built up the family finances.
Whether your case goes all the way to a final hearing, or is settled by negotiation, we will ensure your case is put across as strongly as possible. We will help make sure that valuations are accurate and that the court, and your spouse, recognise the contribution you have made. This will help you move on and begin your new, independent life with as much financial security as possible.
All parties in a divorce are under a duty to provide “full and frank” disclosure. This means that they have to tell you about all their assets and income. Unfortunately, some wealthy spouses think that they can hide their assets – placing them under the control of companies, or moving them offshore.Vardags are very experienced in these types of cases. Our in house forensic accountancy team can search for assets across the globe, and are experienced at understanding and unravelling complicated corporate structures.
When you begin divorce proceedings, it is natural to worry about how your spouse might react. From the outset of proceedings, they are under a duty to maintain the status quo – including giving you the same access to money to meet your day-to-day expenses.
Your spouse might try to stop you getting your fair share by giving assets away – transferring them to business associate or family members – or by putting them into trust. In doing this they will try to reduce the amount of money available to meet your claim. Vardags are used to such tricks and can help you protect yourself from them.If you have evidence that your spouse is going to dissipate their assets, either by spending them or moving them to other people or other countries, it is possible to obtain a freezing order. These orders freeze your spouse’s assets, allowing them access to no more than they need for their ordinary living expenses. This prevents them from making any major transactions and putting their assets beyond your reach.
Where a spouse has significant business assets, they can often try to downplay their value on divorce. Having the correct value for an asset like this will be key to ensure you get your fair share of your marital wealth.Sometimes spouses will route their business through a complex web of company structures. On other occasions they will manipulate the way the business is run and accounted for in order to suggest it has a lower value. The court appointed expert valuer will have to contend with each of these tricks as it seeks to properly value the asset.
London is known as one of the fairest locations for a less-wealthy spouse to bring a divorce. In many other countries, a spouse will receive little or no payment at the end of a marriage. If you want your fair share, it may be vital that your case is heard in England.Jurisdiction in relation to divorce is governed by a complex web of English, European, and international law. Generally, you will only be able to get divorced in England if you, or your spouse, has been resident or domiciled in England. If there is more than one European country in which you are able to get divorced, the “correct” jurisdiction will be determined by where the proceedings are started first. If the jurisdiction is disputed between England and a non-European country, the court will consider which country is the most suitable to hear the dispute, considering where the assets are located and the previous lifestyles of the parties.
If you fear violence or are subject to violence, the court can and will protect you. For victims of domestic abuse (be it physical, verbal or emotional harm) the court can make non-molestation orders and occupation orders each giving you comprehensive legal protection.Non-molestation orders (“non-mols”) are designed to protect your from harassment. Normally, they will prevent your ex-partner from harassing you and threatening you with violence. Sometimes they will bar them from contacting you directly and from going near you.
Though uncommon, false allegations of domestic violence can be extremely distressing. As leading family lawyers, Vardags can defend such claims while putting forward your case. Where false allegations are made before the court, the consequences can be very serious. Under an occupation or non-molestation order you could be removed from your home or arrested by the police.
Sometimes a spouse will argue that a marriage was not valid, and so there can be no divorce. If your wedding was in England, this will generally be easy to assess as English law lays down strict licencing requirements for wedding venues. In other countries, for example with Islamic marriages, things can be far more complicated. Generally if you can demonstrate that your marriage was registered with the local authorities, the English court will accept it as valid, allowing you to proceed with a divorce.
If you carry on sharing a house with your spouse during a divorce, they must treat you with respect and not make life more difficult for you. They cannot restrict your financial freedom, nor can they harass you or pressure you psychologically.
We offer a free consultation to qualifying individuals. Please call our confidential enquiry line on 020 7404 9390. Lines are staffed 24 hours.
When you contact us a member of our client relations team will take the full details of your situation, assess whether we can assist you, and if so, determine the best team for your case.
Vardags is one of the UK’s leading divorce law firms. We specialise in complex, high net worth and international cases. The Legal 500 has said of Vardags: “The team is noted for its sheer intellect”
Vardags is among the leading family law firms in the UK. Our solicitors specialise in complex cases for high net worth individuals, including international child relocation, child abduction, and prenuptial agreements. The Legal 500 has said that "clients feel in totally safe hands" with Vardags' Children & Family lawyers.
Our reputation and privacy team, headed by top media lawyer Alex McCready, works in and out of the public eye on cases involving defamation, privacy and reputation management. We provide expert advice and representation across the full range of reputation and privacy related matters, including crisis management, emergency injunctions and actions against online and new media.
Our criminal defence team is led by top criminal defence lawyer Rob Conway. Vardags is a successful and rapidly-growing law firm with an outstanding reputation for winning cases.
Vardags is a top property law firm with expertise in complex and high-value cases. We pride ourselves on our discrete and thorough approach and premium client experience. Our team is led by the highly respected and renowned property lawyer James Bunker.
Vardags is a top law firm with a trailblazing fertility and surrogacy department. We have had success with some of the most groundbreaking cases of the last decade in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court, with rulings that have changed the law. Vardags remains at the cutting edge of fertility law, pushing for further improvement of the outdated legislation in place in Britain.
Vardags’ civil litigation team is renowned for its nous and its consistent ability to deliver results.
Vardags is a top professional negligence law firm with expertise in complex and substantial claims. You may have seen our name in the press as our clients are often very high profile. Equally we settle many claims entirely out of the public eye. Our team is led by top professional negligence lawyer, Frank Ryan, who has over 30 years of experience across a range of professional negligence cases.
Vardags' wills and trusts team has the specific expertise to cater to the wills and trusts needs of high-net-worth and high-profile individuals. Richard Todd QC, Leading Counsel for Yasmin Prest said of Vardags: “a note to acknowledge your firm’s pivotal role in achieving such an outstanding result in the recent Supreme Court case of Petrodel v Prest”.