High Net Worth Divorce Solicitors

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High Net Worth Divorce Solicitors

Dividing finances during divorce is rarely straightforward, but it can be particularly challenging where there are substantial incomes and high value assets to reckon with. Having the support of experienced high net worth divorce solicitors is essential to give you the best chance of a fair outcome that protects your future financial security.

At IBB Law, we regularly advise high net worth individuals and their spouses on their financial rights in divorce. We have the expertise and tactical mindset you need to ensure you you exit your marriage in the strongest financial  position possible.

Our approach can be entirely tailored to your circumstances. Whether your priority is avoiding conflict, a swift settlement, uncovering potentially hidden assets or anything else, we can proactively support you.

Complete support for high net worth divorce law

At IBB Law, our high net worth divorce lawyers can help with matters including:

  • High net worth divorce settlements
  • High net worth divorce consent orders
  • Court proceedings for financial orders
  • Wealth protection during divorce
  • Financial provision for children
  • Pension wealth
  • Business assets
  • International assets
  • Family trusts

Why choose IBB Law for help with high asset divorce?

Our family lawyers can offer you:

  • Leading expertise advising clients on all aspects of high net worth divorce law, including cases with assets in excess of £10 million
  • Independently accredited expertise with our Family Law team being ranked by leading client guides the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners
  • Ranking in Chambers’ High Net Worth guide for our expertise in Private Wealth Law
  • Many of our team are members of Resolution, a network of legal professionals committed to removing conflict from family law
  • Our Family Law team is led by Jolene Hutchison, recognised in the Legal 500 for “exceptional professional knowledge with strong interpersonal skills” and her “straight-talking approach and honesty about the potential pitfalls of a case”

Discuss your case with our high net worth divorce solicitors

Our high net worth divorce lawyers are available in Uxbridge, Chesham, Reading and Ascot.

You can call one of our legal offices directly or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and one of our legal team will call you.

Common questions about high net worth divorce

What is considered a high net worth divorce?

There is no strict legal definition of what constitutes a high net worth divorce, but one way of categorising a divorce as ‘high net worth’ is where the spouses’ combined income and assets (including pensions and investments) exceed the reasonable financial needs of the spouses and any children or other dependants.

Do you have to declare all assets in a divorce?

Yes, a full financial disclosure by both spouses is a key part of the process of reaching a divorce settlement voluntarily or securing a financial order through the courts. This means that both spouses must detail their full assets so they can be considered in the division of finances.

Hiding assets can be considered a form of fraud and, where court proceedings are involved, could also see the spouse attempting to hide assets being held in contempt of court. This can result in penalties such as being made to pay their spouse’s legal costs, receiving a less favourable share of assets from the court, being fined by the court or, in the most serious cases, even facing imprisonment.

It is therefore absolutely essential that both spouses make a full and frank financial disclosure during divorce.

What should I do if I think my partner is hiding some of their wealth?

In a high value assets divorce, it is not uncommon for there to be suspicions about whether one or both spouses are being entirely forthcoming about their full assets. If you are concerned that your spouse may be attempting to hide assets, there are various actions you can take, including:

  • Freezing orders to stop your spouse disposing of assets e.g. moving money into a different account or transferring assets to someone else.
  • Avoidance of disposition orders where assets have already been disposed of (which means the value of the asset can still be included in any calculations about your financial entitlements).
  • ‘Add back’ which is a principle that can be used where it can be shown that your spouse has spent money recklessly e.g. by giving extravagant gifts. This money can then be added back to the total assets being considered as part of your divorce.
  • Third -party disclosure order which enables your legal team to secure key financial documents in relation to your spouse’s assets e.g. from their bank or HMRC.
  • Search and seizure orders which can be used to find and secure any documents that you believe your spouse may intend to destroy as part of an effort to hide assets.

Experts such as forensic accountants can be critical to uncovering someone’s true wealth during divorce. Even where direct evidence of hidden wealth cannot be found, it may be possible for a court to draw inferences about your spouse’s true assets, for example, if their lifestyle suggests a higher level of income or assets than they have disclosed.

How can I protect myself from financial claims in the future?

Whether you reach a division of assets amicably or need to rely on court proceedings, one important principle is that you should, in almost all circumstances, seek a financial order dismissing any further claims. This means that all financial ties between you and your former spouse are severed, and they can no longer make a claim against your assets in future. It may be possible to achieve an immediate dismissal in respect of all financial claims.  This is known as a ‘clean break’.  The exception to a clean break is where ongoing spousal maintenance is necessary.  In this instance it is usual for the property, capital and pension claims to be dismissed immediately and for the dismissal of income claims to be delayed until the spousal maintenance ends.  This is known as a ‘delayed clean break’.

If you agreed a divorce settlement voluntarily, you can secure a clean break by applying to a court for a ‘consent order’ to make the voluntary financial settlement legally binding.

If you need to seek a financial order from a court to decide the division of assets, then you should get a clean break or delayed clean break order alongside this.

If you are concerned about finances but you are not yet ready to start the divorce process then you could consider a post nuptial agreement or a separation agreement to agree with your spouse how the finances will be dealt with in the event of a divorce in the future.

Who gets the business in a divorce?

Business assets can be challenging to deal with during divorce, but there is usually a workable way forward that means the business owner retains control.

Common approaches include offsetting the value of the business against other assets, such as the family home, allowing a fair division of finances without harming the business. Selling the business and splitting the proceeds could be an option, but this would normally only be considered if the business owner is amenable to selling e.g. if they were already considering exiting the business.

It is also possible that a share of the business income could be earmarked for the other spouse, but this is not normally a desirable option as it keeps the spouses financially connected and could disincentivise the business owner from putting their full efforts into the business.

Where a business is jointly owned between the spouses, it can make the situation more complicated, but again, this is something that many divorcing couples are able to navigate successfully with the assistance of specialist advice.

It is not uncommon for separating spouses to agree to continue running a business together, although in such cases it is often necessary to formalise the business relationship e.g. with a partnership agreement, which may not previously have been considered essential.

Alternatively, where there is a jointly owned business, one spouse could buy out the other’s share or the business could be sold and the proceeds split.

Ultimately, there are many different options that you can explore, so it is important to seek expert support at an early stage and to be clear about what outcome you want to achieve. Our team includes a full range of specialisms, and we work collegiately so our commercial lawyers are available to advise alongside our family lawyers to protect your business in a divorce.

What is the penalty for hiding assets in divorce in the UK?

As discussed above, there are a range of potential penalties for hiding assets in a divorce in England and Wales. These can include being required to cover the other spouse’s legal costs, receiving a reduced share of the combined marital assets, being fined and even a risk of imprisonment.

How do I avoid financial ruin in a divorce?

It is very normal to worry about what the outcome of a divorce will be for your finances, but nobody should ever find themselves in a situation where they are facing ‘financial ruin’.

In most cases, the division of assets can be agreed amicably without the need for court proceedings, meaning you have a strong measure of control over the outcome you achieve.

Even if court proceedings are required, the guiding principle of the courts is to achieve a fair division of assets that meets both spouses’ reasonable needs and the needs of any children. You should, therefore, not be left in financial hardship as a result of getting divorced, as long as you have the right advice and support during the process.

Discuss your case with our high net worth divorce solicitors

Our high net worth divorce lawyers are available in Uxbridge, Chesham, Reading and Ascot.

You can call one of our legal offices directly or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and one of our legal team will call you.