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Divorce - How to protect your wealth and assets during a divorce

If you are a high net worth individual facing marital breakdown, it is natural to want to protect your assets and wonder about the financial cost this it could have. The English courts are known for their generosity towards the financially weaker party, making it all the more important to have specialist legal representation from top divorce lawyers.

The English courts view marriage as a partnership and will investigate the share of assets built up during the course of the marriage. The court can also look at assets earned before the marriage, to meet a spouses needs. Unlike in many countries, the court can also examine assets held through corporate entities, in trusts, and by family members.

The wide discretion that the English court has means that it is vital to get the best representation possible. You will need to meet your spouses claim with strong arguments about the value, liquidity, and origins of your assets as well as countering their proposed needs and entitlements.

As a top family law firm, Vardags can help you get the best possible result from your financial proceedings. Our combination of elite lawyers and in-house financial forensics team offer unrivalled legal advice focused on protecting the assets you want to protect.

Frequently Asked Questions

Spouses having inflated ideas about the value of assets is not uncommon in high value divorces, especially where parties have had a high-spending lifestyle. This false perception of reality can prove costly for both parties, if not kept in check. Where this is the case, full disclosure will be vital in demonstrating that there are no hidden assets while reassuring your spouse that everything has been done transparently. Equally important will be obtaining thorough valuations.

In a high net-worth divorce case, a party can start spending recklessly for a number of reasons. Freezing orders in family law ensure a wealthy party cannot dissipate their assets in this way. This is a form of injunction which restricts a party from spending above their reasonable needs. If they breach it, they can be fined or jailed.

Custody and access - more properly called “Child Arrangements” - can be emotionally fraught litigation, especially where one party is threatening the other with the prospect of denying them time with the child. The court will always look at child centric outcomes, with the welfare of the child always being paramount. The starting point will always be that the child should spend time with both parents, except in very unusual circumstances.

In the course of proceedings, maintaining the financial status quo is required as well as not doing anything that can be seen as dissipating assets. That should not, however, restrict you from making legitimate investments, as divorce should not be seen as a blanket ban on moving capital. Likewise, spouses can often apply for the extraction of cash reserves held in a business, arguing that they should be used for their claim rather than being retained for future investment. Throughout proceedings, presenting business affairs in a transparent manner will be vital in avoiding attracting suspicion or appearing in a bad light. Our in-house corporate expertise, allied with our legal acumen, will help you protect your business activities.

As the court has wide powers when making financial awards, it is vital that you set out the proper values of your assets so you can define your spouse's entitlement.

Often people will apply for divorce proceedings in England with the aim of maximising their claim, even if this is not justified. Jurisdiction, in cases of divorce, is governed by a complex web of law, involving multiple cross-border elements. Generally, the divorce will only be heard in England if you, or your spouse, has been resident or domiciled in England.

If you fear violence or suffer from it, the court will protect you. For victims of domestic abuse (be it physical, verbal or emotional harm) the court can make non-molestation orders or occupation orders, each giving you comprehensive legal protection.

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.

Starting divorce proceedings can be frightening as well as full of uncertainty; however, as leading family lawyers, Vardags can guide you through the first steps. Being excluded from the family home is a common worry that many have. Under law, a spouse’s rights include remaining living at the family home even if it is owned in their partner’s sole name. This is because of a principle called “home rights”, which also, when properly registered, prevents your spouse from selling the property from under you or from kicking you out. As experienced family lawyers, Vardags have experience in helping people protect their home rights, helping you remain in the family home.


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OUR Divorce TEAM

Ayesha Vardag

Founder & President Ayesha Vardag Founder & President Divorce & Family
“Ayesha Vardag - Britain's top divorce lawyer.” 
The Telegraph

Stephen Bence

Chief Executive Officer Stephen Bence Vardags CEO
“Dr Stephen Bence is a financial genius.” 
Lewis Marks KC

David Lister

Senior Partner - Divorce & Family David Lister
“Brilliant with a real spark which clients love” 
Legal 500

Is Vardags Right For You?

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. 

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