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Simon and Rachel were married for 20 years and had four teenage children. Rachel had worked as a nurse during the marriage but due to health issues was no longer working. Simon was the CEO of a household name manufacturing company established by his family many years ago. Simon had managed to take the company into the 21st century, vastly expanding its geographical reach and brand-recognition, and built up a personal fortune in excess of £100m.
When the couple separated, Simon wished to ensure that Rachel’s financial settlement was fair and reflected the fact that a very large proportion of their wealth resulted directly from the family business and the assets that had been handed down to him through the generations. Simon and Rachel’s affairs were complex as their assets included interests in family trusts, pensions, company shares and a property portfolio.
After the exchange of complex financial information between the parties’ solicitors and several months of negotiations, a settlement was agreed. Rachel received 35% of the assets. We fought hard to ensure that Simon’s interests in the family company and trust assets were treated differently from the couple’s other assets to reflect the inherited nature of these items. The outcome preserved Simon’s ability to take care of the family trusts and company interests to hand on to the next generation.
Complexities of the case
A case like this raises many complex legal and financial issues, necessitating the involvement of a range of professionals. We worked closely with a top-rated matrimonial finance QC who provided assistance with trusts law and the treatment of inherited wealth within financial settlements on divorce. We also worked with foreign tax experts to make sure that the proposed settlement interacted with the couple’s broader wealth management strategy to best advantage.
Family law is distinguished by its combination of extremely technical legal and financial issues and a very human story at the centre of everything. This case was an object lesson in striking a balance between ensuring that the client’s financial objectives were achieved without sacrificing good relations between him and his wife, who of course will continue to work together as parents to their children even though their relationship has come to an end.
NB: All of our case studies here are based on real life clients and their experiences. However, due to the sensitive nature of the work we do, all names and some factual details have been amended to protect the privacy of our clients.