Nuptial agreements: Place of preference

Emily Finn considers the approach of the courts to choice of law clauses in nuptial agreements If nuptial agreements are usually binding in the parties’ chosen jurisdiction, that should act as a strong indication to the court in England and Wales that parties intend to be bound by the terms, including a choice of law …
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Business assets: A tangled web

Karen Holden examines cases involving complex business assets and the approach of the courts to such assets The court will have ultimate discretion when dividing assets on divorce and attributing weight to the values of assets, guided by fundamental principles of sharing, needs and fairness. The courts have various powers when dealing with company assets, …
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Financial provision: Not-so-special

Catherine Doherty examines the approach to stellar contributions and whether such arguments are now largely obsolete ‘The Court of Appeal felt that it could only determine that there was not such a disparity in the parties’ respective contributions that it would be inequitable to disregard them when deciding what award to make.’ The decision of …
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International focus: Asking the right questions

Suzanne Kingston and Ciara Moore highlight key considerations for pre-nuptial agreements around the world A panel discussion at the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) meeting in Stuttgart regarding international pre-nuptial agreements included brilliant lawyers from around the world, who have helped prepare this article. We considered a number of the key issues of the …
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Business assets: Sharing the golden goose?

Henry Hood provides insight on the approach to private limited company assets, including valuation and methods of division ‘A clean break can be more difficult to achieve where a company is involved because sharing over time will commonly imply ongoing income payments and a deferred lump sum on sale, or as liquidity allows.’ Coleridge J’s …
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Martin v Martin [2018] EWCA Civ 2866

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2019 #174

A company was incorporated by the husband and a friend in 1978 as equal shareholders. The husband and wife started living together in 1986, and married in 1989. At this point, the husband acquired 99% of the shares and the wife 1%. They separated in 2015.

On a wife’s application for a financial remedy order, the judge found that the capital assets were £182m in properties and pension funds, and 100% of the shares in a private company, which he valued at £221m before tax and costs of sale. He found that 80% of the company’s value was marital property, by applying a straight-line ap...

Financial provision: Sharing the risk

Jemma Pollock reviews the treatment of ‘copper-bottomed’ assets when compared to assets with a higher risk and less certain value in a case involving a private company ‘The impact of the uncertainty will of course be felt more in cases where resources outside of a family business are lower and where achieving a balance is …
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Pre-nuptial agreements: Agreeing to disagree

Vikkie Chetcuti examines case law developments on pre-nuptial agreements, in particular as to legal advice, jurisdiction clauses, needs and sharing, in the post-Radmacher era ‘In Brack the Court of Appeal grappled with the issue of whether the mere existence of a valid pre-nuptial agreement meant the court was constrained as a matter of course from …
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Business assets: Open or shut?

Rachel Nicholl examines the courts’ approach to business assets and the different orders that may be made to deal with such assets ‘While the court must consider the value of all the assets in the case in order to properly exercise its discretion, given the expenses involved in instructing an expert, this is something that …
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Pre-nups and private client: Take note

Mark Pawlowski considers a recent decision on the enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements ‘It was essential that both parties should have entered into the agreement of their own free will without undue influence, fraud or misrepresentation, and with a full appreciation of its implications.’ The recent Court of Appeal decision in Versteegh v Versteegh [2018] has …
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