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27 May 2015
Slater and Gordon Senior Family Solicitor Beverley Darwent was instructed by her client to secure considerable assets on a clean break basis and avoid the costs of a final divorce hearing.
Slater and Gordon Solicitor: Beverley Darwent is a Principal Lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
Settlement Value: Undisclosed
Beverley’s client Mrs N and her husband both held senior roles in the medical profession and were in their 50s. The matrimonial assets were worth approximately £2.5m which included 50% shareholdings each held by Beverley’s client and the husband in a private company set up by the husband to receive his private medical income, and numerous offshore investments in Asia. There were also significant pensions.
The husband was obstructive throughout divorce proceedings necessitating several court applications for Beverley’s client but ensuring that full financial disclosure was procured from the husband.
Considerable complications arose from a serious Inland Revenue investigation into the husband’s undisclosed income in which the husband tried to implicate Beverley’s client. This was strongly resisted and Beverley’s client was not held to be liable.
There were also difficulties obtaining full details of overseas investment as the husband tried to pressure the holders of the accounts and investments not to provide information to Beverley’s client.
Tax advice was procured for Beverley’s client on the most tax-efficient way to bring back onshore both cash and investments and on capital gains tax issues relating to the private company and other matters.
A further complication was caused by the husband sacking his solicitors and representing himself from shortly before the dispute resolution hearing. Thereafter the husband engaged in irrelevant correspondence in an attempt to drive up Beverley’s client’s costs but this was forcibly resisted. Beverley and her client were very keen not to proceed to a final hearing and especially wanted to secure a clean break.
Decision: A favourable settlement was secured for Beverley’s client via discussions at the dispute resolution hearing and in negotiations thereafter. She was awarded over half the assets including a significant cash sum on a clean break basis and kept all her pension.
Beverley’s client was delighted with the settlement as she was determined to avoid the costs of a trial.
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