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Obtaining a divorce can be a stressful and emotional process. You will have to make some very important decisions that will affect the rest of your life.
High net worth divorce is often a complex and difficult process. Boodle Hatfield is on hand to guide you with professional and expert advice, helping you to secure the best possible outcome.
Whether you are initiating divorce or responding to a divorce petition, our experienced divorce lawyers will make the process as straightforward as possible for you. We will take the time to understand your situation and advise you on the best course of action. You can be assured that our team will work with absolute discretion on your case, with your best interests at heart.
We know that in divorce cases, when one or both partners has significant wealth, protecting substantial finances, properties, assets and international interests – not to mention children, custody and maintenance – can be an extremely difficult process. We have worked with business owners, families with significant wealth, internationally mobile individuals, high earners such as City professionals, sportsmen and their spouses to reach a favourable outcome in the divorce.
Our expert and personable divorce lawyers will guide you through the multiple issues you will need to consider including:
- Financial Remedy – Dividing finances is often the most complex process of the divorce, especially with regards to high net worth divorce. Each case is entirely unique. We make sure to tailor our approach accordingly to meet your specific financial needs in the divorce. Read more about our financial remedy services
- Children and living together agreements – This is perhaps the most emotionally challenging part of the divorce. We can advise you on all decisions that involve your children. We can help you to resolve common disagreements such as the amount of time a child spends with parents or other family members, abduction matters and if one party would like to move abroad, or to another part of the country, with the children. Read more about children and living together arrangements
- Business assets – You or your spouse may own a limited business, trading firm or any other company. Firstly, we can advise whether the business should be dealt with in the divorce and if necessary, how the business should be valued and divided. We work seamlessly with accountants and business advisors if need be
- Personal and joint assets – It is a common misconception that personal assets may be protected in the event of a divorce by keeping them out of either party’s legal ownership. We will help you to understand your rights for assets during the divorce process. You may even have concerns that your spouse has assets that they are hiding during the divorce procedures. We can help you to uncover such assets. You can read more about how to protect your assets here
- Trusts and pensions – Trusts and pensions can often be one of the most valuable assets in a divorce. We make sure to take these aspects into account and ensure that you understand the different types of trust and pension and how these can be efficiently divided
- International issues – Boodle Hatfield’s high net worth divorce solicitors can advise on a wide range of matters relating to international divorce, including advice for those currently residing in the UK whose marriage took place outside of the UK. We are also experienced in working on behalf of UK citizens living overseas and who are married to a spouse of a different nationality
If you would like to know more about the divorce process, our frequently asked questions below will help you to understand a bit more about the procedure as well as the financial implications.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to get divorced?
Typically, it takes around five to six months but it can take longer if there are financial matters to be resolved.
How is the divorce initiated?
You can only apply for a divorce if you have been married for at least one year and either party can apply by lodging a Petition at Court. The applying party is called the ‘Petitioner’, and the receiving party is called the ‘Respondent’. In England, you will need to prove to the Court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, and this in turn must be proved with reference to one of five specific facts:
- The Respondent’s adultery (this cannot be used to evidence the irretrievable breakdown of a civil partnership or same sex marriage)
- The Respondent’s unreasonable behaviour
- The Respondent’s desertion for 2 years (this is rare and difficult to prove)
- Separation for 2 years and both parties’ consent
- Separation for 5 years – there is no need for the Respondent to consent.
What happens next?
The receiving party needs to acknowledge the Petition and say whether or not they want to defend the divorce. If undefended, the Petitioner can make an application for the first decree of divorce, the Decree Nisi. There is a mandatory six week and one day time period after the Decree Nisi is pronounced before the Petitioner can apply for the Decree Absolute. This is the final order of divorce, and dissolves the marriage.
Once the Decree Nisi has been pronounced, the Court can make an order dealing with the parties’ assets. It can be unwise to apply for Decree Absolute until financial matters are settled.
How do the financial proceedings fit in with divorce proceedings? The Court deals with the financial aspects of the divorce separately from the divorce itself. A financial application can be lodged with the Court at the same time as the Petition.
What does the Court take into consideration during financial proceedings? In order to seek to achieve a fair financial outcome, the following will be considered:
- The income, earning capacity, property, financial resources (now and in the foreseeable future both in this jurisdiction and worldwide) of each party; and
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of each party;
- The couple’s standard of living during their marriage;
- The length of the marriage and any period of cohabitation beforehand;
- The age and state of health of each party; and
- The contributions, both financial and non-financial, that each party has made to the welfare of the family.
How will the Court divide the assets?
The welfare of any child is the Court’s first consideration. The Court will take all the assets into account and first consider the question of needs (of the parties and the children). In the majority of cases, the assets do not exceed the needs in which case the needs will be the determining factor. If the parties’ needs can be met, then the equal sharing (of matrimonial assets) and compensation (of relationship-generated disadvantages) principles may be engaged. The Court may leave non-matrimonial assets such as inherited wealth or assets generated before the marriage out of account and share the matrimonial assets equally. In very exceptional circumstances, a Court may deviate from the sharing principle where one of the parties has made a ‘special contribution’ to the marriage.
Click here to see our Family Law Glossary.
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