Divorce, separation and finances
We have a long established reputation for achieving outstanding results for our clients, particularly in complex cases and those with an international angle.
Our award winning team of family lawyers has acted in many of the landmark cases in the London and Hong Kong courts in recent times, and has been involved in the development of the law in both locations.
We acted for Melissa Miller in securing her entitlement to a fair share of assets in a short marriage case ultimately determined by the Supreme Court and which established a number of principles that have determined all other financial cases on divorce.
We also acted for the successful spouse in the three reported decisions where the court decided to award one spouse a greater share of the marital wealth on the basis of the special contribution they were deemed to have made during the marriage (Sorrell (2005), Charman (2007) and Cooper-Hohn (2014). Our team in Hong Kong has been involved in three of the most important cases to reach the Court of Final Appeal since 2010. We acted for the husband in a high net worth cross border divorce which involved significant assets in Hong Kong and mainland China (ML v YJ (2010) and resulted in the Hong Kong government reforming the law in respect of financial provision in Hong Kong when there was a foreign divorce decree.
In Kan Lai Kwan v Poon Lok To Otto, the law in relation to trusts was clarified, and SPH v SA clarified the law on competing jurisdictions. The case also confirmed that if the parties fully understood the implications of a prenuptial agreement, they would most likely be bound by it.
Establishing strategy early on
Clients tell us that one of the main reasons they were glad they chose us is because of the way we approach our first meeting with them. We find it is vital to establish early on the realistic objectives for your case and to set a clear strategy to achieve this. It is not uncommon for firms to win work by telling clients what they want to hear, but we see it as essential to be candid in advising you on what you will be able to achieve and to set out the options for reaching those goals – whether for example through negotiated agreement (either directly or through mediation or a collaborative law process), or through the courts or, alternatively, arbitration.
Trust related cases
Trusts are widely used by families as a way to protect their assets for future generations. Understandably, during a divorce there can be strong disagreement over how trusts and other wealth structures should be dealt with.
We have considerable experience in advising trustees, beneficiaries and other family members caught up in divorce proceedings.
We have the benefit of being able to consult with on of the largest top ranked wealth planning and contentious trust teams based globally across the US, Caribbean, Europe and Asia. With colleagues also in corporate, employment, property and reputation management teams we have the experience and the skill sets to protect your trust interests, family businesses and inherited wealth or alternatively, when required, to trace assets and probe wealth holding structures.
We work with trustees and beneficiaries in the preparation of pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, on which we have enormous experience, and which form an integral part of wealth protection planning.
Withers has one of the largest trust law teams based globally in the US, Caribbean, Europe and Asia. This means we have the ability to ‘stress test’ and identify potential vulnerabilities in wealth structures, so that steps can be taken to protect against or minimize unfavorable outcomes resulting from attacks from divorcing spouses, fiscal authorities, creditors or disappointed heirs.
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