The Lifeline Project was a well-regarded charity. Failure to carry out the targets within the contracts led the charity into insolvency and resulted in a personal, 7-year disqualification order.
Any measure created in contemplation of divorce, or within a relatively short period before it, is potentially reviewable by the court if it is intended to defeat a spouse’s claim for financial relief. The court can set it aside or draw an adverse inference from the creation of legal structures intended to act as barriers to a claim. However, if such a structure sufficiently predates the breakdown of the marriage or can be justified for any other reason, then parties can and should take sensible steps to protect their wealth/assets.
A trust is one such vehicle, but it must not be a sham. If the settlor retains sole control of the trust’s assets and doesn’t consult other trustees, it might be viewed as such. Secrecy, complexity or hidden assets all contribute to the potential failure of the measure to stand up in a matrimonial court.
You can protect shares in a private limited company by the way the company is structured. Classifying shares that cannot be owned by a member’s spouse prevents their transfer on divorce. However, after valuation, offsetting against other assets can still occur, but it does prevent interference by disaffected spouses, which might be harmful to the company.
Inherited or money not derived from the marriage itself – ‘non-matrimonial assets’ can be protected to some degree by keeping it separate. Although it must always be disclosed, placing it in a separate account and avoiding ‘mixing’ with jointly owned assets can provide an extra barrier. The overall need of the claiming spouse may still enable recourse to it, but if not, it may withstand an onslaught.
Finally, there are pre and post-nuptial settlements, the latter more likely to be enforceable but both are still well worth a try. Neither would oust the jurisdiction of the family court but if created in the right conditions, would probably stand up to challenge. Conditions include the taking of legal advice, giving full and frank financial disclosure and being entered into well before the date of the marriage to avoid the challenge of undue influence.
If you would like further advice or information about financial remedy from a relationship breakdown, please contact Elizabeth Wyatt.
On 23 July, trainees from Anthony Collins Solicitors will host an ‘experience day’, which will involve various activities and presentations, with lawyers and non-lawyers from across the firm.
The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) has launched a new scheme specifically for charities and not-for-profit organisations who want to advise EU citizens on UK settlement.
In the second part of our series on contract management pitfalls, we look at the risks and opportunities presented by payment mechanisms in construction contracts.
Under most construction contracts, the contractor takes on the ground conditions risk. However, a recent case has demonstrated that the risk can fall on the employer.
The UK Government has been consulting on how it should promote social value in its procurements. Here is our response that we submitted to the consultation...
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on 1 June 2019.
A recent case in the Court of Appeal will no doubt bring a sigh of relief for employers, but a corresponding sigh of disappointment may be uttered for equality and gender balance in the workplace.
This briefing assists response to the consultation paper by outlining the consultation questions, providing some background information and prompting some thoughts and potential answers.
A report published on 29 May by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that since 2009-10, local government spending on services has fallen on average by 21% in real terms.
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