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Divorce - My spouse is overvaluing my business or other assets

Vardags is the only family law firm with a dedicated in-house Financial Forensics department. Our team specialises in the identification, tracing, valuation and forensic review of assets – including businesses, property and investments.

If you are a High-Net-Worth person considering, or in the process of, a divorce, it is important to have an accurate and supported valuation of all your assets. Conjectures of inflated asset and/or income levels could lead to unfair settlements, not reflective of your actual wealth.

The benefit of the Vardags model is that the only people doing the valuation and forensic accountancy work on your case will be forensic accountants with experience in matrimonial law. They will be able to provide their insight at the earliest stage of, and throughout, the case, giving you a strategic advantage. They also work regularly with the other departments at Vardags, assisting both with the uncovering of hidden assets, and their valuation.

The department was set up by Vardags CEO, Stephen Bence, himself a McKinsey analyst and is now staffed fully by chartered accountants. Katharine Danby was KPMG trained as a Forensic investigator, finding hidden assets and uncovering fraud. Ben Crowne trained at EY and has specialised for years in contentious valuations, dealing with cases where the parties disagree – often radically – about value. Their knowledge and expertise bridge the gap often found between lawyers and the accountants who do valuations on behalf of the court in a matrimonial proceeding, providing the best possible outcome for client in what can often be the most controversial and important aspect of a case.

Services:

  • Business valuation (e.g. companies, partnerships, sole traders)
  • Investment valuation (e.g. shareholdings, options, profit-sharing arrangements)
  • Asset valuations (property, crypto and other personal assets)
  • Advice and support through any court-appointed expert process
  • Identification and tracing of hidden assets
  • Forensic review of bank statements and company expenses for unexplained and personal expenditure
  • Analysis of company/individual liquidity
  • Assessment of maintainable earnings from a business

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.

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.

In high value cases, it is common for parties to have an inflated view of marital assets. In order to tackle these false perceptions, an accurate and thorough valuation of all your assets is key.With a unique team of in-house forensic accountants and well-established links with expert valuers, Vardags are adept at demonstrating the true value of shared assets and countering any excessive needs claims.

If your spouse has stopped supporting and you are struggling to meet your daily expenses, Vardags can help.It is possible to apply to the court for your spouse to provide you with interim maintenance, also known as maintenance pending suit. Here the court will look at your short term income needs and will order your spouse to make payments to meet them. If such an application is required, your spouse might also be ordered to pay your legal costs relating to it.

When you divorce, any maintenance order will be based one what you are earning at the time. For whatever reason, you might not always be earning at that level.Whether it is due to a downturn in your business, ill-health or retirement, you might find that the maintenance payments are taking a disproportionate amount of your income. If that is the case, you can ask the court for a downward variation of your maintenance.

If you feel you should have got more from your divorce, it may be possible to appeal your case. A successful appeal may well lead to a higher award or to increased maintenance.To appeal against a financial order, you will need to show that the judge was wrong in the way the final decision was reached. As experienced family lawyers, the legal team at Vardags will help you prepare your case for appeal. We will review the initial judgment and advise you whether it is possible to appeal. The dynamic approach our lawyers take meant that we are used to challenging judgments and working to change the law – we will help you put forward innovative arguments in support of your appeal.

If you are ordered to make payments by the court, deliberate failure so to do will be considered contempt. Disobeying orders is taken very seriously by the courts and can result in fines and even imprisonment. If you are genuinely unable to make the payments required by the award, you will need legal advice to address this before arrears mount up.If the order to which you are subject has been made very recently, it may be possible to appeal. If the judge has made a mistake about the law or facts in your case, then it may be possible to apply to the court to reassess what you are required to pay.

Since the Supreme Court decisions of Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil, the court has greater ability to re-open cases if there has been fraudulent non-disclosure. This has led to an increasing number of spouses trying to have their cases brought back to court.Often, this can be unmerited, born out of their feeling they got a bad deal, rather than actual evidence of asset hiding. Even so, an appeal can be a costly and time consuming process with you having to go to court to fight the allegations.Vardags are experienced with cases such as this, and will help you demonstrate that the original outcome was the right one. We will help you demonstrate that your previous disclosure was full and frank and that any omissions were honest mistakes and not attempts to deceive the court.

Where a spouse is dissatisfied with the outcome of a case, they can appeal. To do so, however, they must have viable grounds.Judges in family law have a wide discretion to make findings of fact and rule on the distribution of assets between the parties. For a successful appeal, the court must be shown that the initial judge erred in their understanding or application of the law. It is not possible to have a re-run of the case simply because you do not like the outcome.

Sometimes litigation can get bogged down in a costly mire. The case can drag, whilst endless correspondence pushes up solicitors’ costs. It may be possible to escape this morass by changing solicitors.

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