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High Net Worth Family Law

Specialist family law advice for people with significant wealth from solicitors who understand how to deal with complex and high value assets.

Getting married, divorced or dealing with other family law matters can be much more complicated where there are substantial assets that must be taken into account.

Working with family law experts who specialise in advising High Net Worth individuals and their families can ensure your interests are protected and your future financial security is assured.

At Wolferstans Solicitors, our Family Department has particular experience advising High Net Worth clients in family proceedings, including around divorce and separation.

Led by Partner Vikki Martin, our team has extensive practical knowledge around dealing with high value and complex assets, including:

  • Pension funds
  • Trusts
  • Property portfolios
  • Business assets
  • Shares and investments
  • Inherited wealth
  • Farms and agricultural property
  • International assets

Our family lawyers can advise High Net Worth individuals and their families on matters including:

  • Divorce
  • Civil partnership dissolution
  • Separation for unmarried couples
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Postnuptial agreements
  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Separation agreements
  • Child arrangements
  • Domestic abuse

For more information or to arrange a no-obligation appointment with one of our High Net Worth family lawyers, please contact the Client Services team on 01752 292201.


Why choose Wolferstans Solicitors for High Net Worth family law advice?

Wolferstans Family Department offers a number of advantages for High Net Worth clients seeking expert representation, including:

  • Extensive experience advising High Net Worth clients and their families
  • Law Society accreditation in Family Law and Children Law
  • Independently recognised expertise, with Family Law Partner Phil Thorneycroft ranked Band 1 for Family/Matrimonial by Chambers & Partners
  • In-house family court advocates, so we can handle your whole case end-to-end
  • Many of our team are members of Resolution, the leading network for family lawyers with a strong focus on non-confrontational approaches
  • Family Law Partners Vikki Martin and Phil Thorneycroft, as well as Associate Solicitor Rebecca Moloney are all trained collaborative lawyers
  • Exceptional client service, focused on achieving the outcome you need in the best way for your key concerns and priorities


Our High Net Worth family law fees

All of our family law services are normally provided according to a pre-agreed hourly rate. We offer various hourly rates depending on the level of experience of the person who is doing the work, with VAT added to the hourly rate. The cost will therefore depend on how much time the matter takes and the level of expertise required.

You will be asked to pay an amount up front before the work starts and will then be billed on a monthly basis.

Some clients prefer to pay on an hourly rate basis because they know that they are paying for work actually done on their matter.

If you are involved in Court proceedings and would like some advice without us acting for you throughout the proceedings, we can offer you a service where you pay for particular pieces of work.

This might be advice about preparing an application or Court statement, advice about how to prepare for a Court hearing or representation at a particular hearing. We may charge for this either on a Price Certainty or hourly rate basis (as outlined above).


High Net Worth family law FAQs


How are divorce settlements decided?

There are two main ways finances can be divided during divorce:

  • Negotiated divorce settlement – where the two spouses agree how to divide their assets, often using methods such as family mediation and collaborative law.
  • Court proceedings – where one or both spouses apply to a family court to decide how their assets should be split.

Negotiating a divorce settlement voluntarily will usually be faster, less costly and less stressful, as well as keeping your financial affairs private. However, court proceedings are sometimes necessary, such as where a settlement cannot be agreed, the relationship between the spouses is particularly hostile or where there has been domestic abuse.

Factors that should be considered when negotiating a divorce financial settlement and that will be referred to by a court if a Financial Order is required are:

  • The financial contribution each party made to the marriage
  • Each spouse’s income and earning capacity
  • Other contributions made by either party e.g. raising children
  • The length of the marriage
  • The needs of each spouse and any children or other dependants


How are business assets treated in divorce?

Business assets are treated the same as any other assets, meaning they will be considered as part of any divorce settlement or court-ordered division of assets. However, courts do generally recognise that it is desirable to avoid any negative impact on the value of business assets in divorce and separation, so this will normally be taken into account.

Whether you are negotiating a divorce settlement privately or an application has been made to a family court for a Financial Order, a common approach would be to offset the value of business assets against other assets, such as your family home and savings. This can allow a fair division of finances to be achieved while preserving the integrity of business assets.


Are pensions included in divorce settlements?

Pensions are considered matrimonial assets and will need to be considered as part of the division of finances during divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

There are three basic approaches that are usually taken when dealing with pensions during divorce, which are:

Pension offsetting – where one spouse surrenders their interest in the other spouse’s pension in exchange for a larger share of other matrimonial assets.

Pension sharing – where a percentage of one spouse’s pension pot is placed into a separate pension scheme for the benefit of the other spouse, giving each spouse their own individual pension.

Pension earmarking – a rarely used option where it is agreed that a certain percentage of one spouse’s pension will be paid to the other on an ongoing basis.


Is an inheritance part of a divorce settlement?

Inherited wealth and assets will normally be considered part of the matrimonial assets for the purposes of a divorce settlement or court-ordered division of finances. However, this will depend on various circumstances.

If inherited assets are only received a short time before a marriage breaks down, it is possible a court would consider that they should not be included in the matrimonial assets. Conversely, there have been instances where a substantial inheritance is expected to be received in the near future where courts have decided that this should be included.

Ultimately, it will depend on the circumstances and the needs of the parties, as well as what can be agreed or what a court deems fair.


Are trusts exempt from divorce?

Where one of the parties to a divorce has a beneficial interest in a trust, then this may be considered as part of the marital assets. Exactly how this will apply in any given circumstances can be very complex to determine, so, if this is a concern, you should seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.


Do international assets have to be declared for a divorce settlement?

Yes, all assets held by both parties must be declared, including international assets. If either spouse is caught attempting to hide assets, then a court may penalise them by making them cover the other spouse’s costs and/or ordering a more favourable settlement to the other spouse.


Speak to our High Net Worth family law solicitors in Plymouth

For more information or to arrange a no-obligation appointment with one of our High Net Worth family lawyers, please contact the Client Services team on 01752 292201.

Have a question? Get in touch.

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