Properties and Divorce

Properties and Divorce

The long awaited decision of the Supreme Court in Prest v Petrodel ruled that properties held with company structures were held on trust for the husband and as such were available assets of the husband to meet the wife’s claims. The decision has been widely reported as a victory for common sense and overturns the potential injustice which may have been caused to others in similar situations had the decision of the Court of Appeal not been overturned.

The Supreme Court however made clear that it was the particular facts of the case which enabled the Court to find that companies controlled by the husband held the assets (a number of properties) on trust for the husband.

The Supreme Court did not rule that in divorce proceedings the family courts had any special rights to interfere with assets held within companies or other business structures. There are likely to be many cases therefore when assets for whatever reason are put into companies or trusts or other business vehicles and these cannot then be accessed as part of the division of assets on divorce.

English divorce law is continually evolving as the important decisions of the higher courts inform the way future cases are decided. There is no present matrimonial property regime in the UK. Cases are decided based upon legal principles set down in law and interpreted by taking into account the parties’ individual circumstances and important case law

The safest way of protecting against future marital breakdown is to enter into a pre nuptial or a post nuptial agreement prior to or following marriage.

Negotiating what may happen on future marital breakdown is perhaps however not the most romantic notion and the traditional method of dealing with issues by correspondence between solicitors may not appeal at a time when focus is upon planning your impending nuptials. Family mediation does however offer you an alternative. In family mediation you sit around a table with your fiancé and a specialist family mediator to discuss concerns and appropriate methods of protecting you against future relationship breakdown.

At MyMediation we can help you and your fiancé or spouse/civil partner discuss the provisions of a pre or post nuptial agreement in a manner which is far less likely to lead to difficulties or relationship acrimony. For more information please contact Anna Vollans our specialist accredited family solicitor mediator on 0113 320 2288.

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