We recognise that high net worth divorce brings its own complex issues that require distinct skills and knowledge to resolve. Graysons’ partner and head of the family law team, Bradie Pell, has dealt with divorce settlements worth millions of pounds, involving businesses, significant property, offshore trusts, and international assets. She and her team are recommended in the Legal 500 2019. She is a confident advocate when representing clients in court, including at final hearings. Bradie has also contributed to a published book aimed at helping separating families.
Click on the links below to find out more about some of the areas that Bradie has helped her high net worth clients with.
As well as significant cash, bank balances, cars, artwork and other expensive assets, high net worth individuals often have wealth tied up in trusts, sometimes overseas. Ensuring that the value in these trusts is properly dealt with requires specific expertise. Unfortunately, some people hide their wealth in these trusts, or in non-disclosed bank accounts to try and exclude them from their assets when divorcing. Bradie is highly experienced in dealing with issues of non-disclosure and has dealt with both onshore and offshore trusts. She is able to quickly take advantage of excellent support from her network of professional contacts, which includes accountants, forensic accountants, valuers, actuaries and barristers.
High value and complex divorces often involve business assets, which can be difficult to value, depending on their structure and whether they are in the UK or abroad. Dealing with business assets in divorce requires specialist knowledge and skill and the ability to unravel often complex corporate structures. Bradie has experience of dealing with cases that involve multiple businesses and where the valuation of business has been required, often needing the involvement of forensic accountants.
A significant element in many divorces is a pension. Understanding which pensions can be split and how, and how they are valued for divorce purpose, is complicated. This is one of Bradie’s specific areas of expertise. Her clients include financial advisors, business owners, professionals, local government employees, police officers, members of the armed forces, consultants, doctors and other members of the NHS. Matters she has dealt with include financial salary schemes in excess of £1 million.
Bradie has dealt with divorces that have involved large land and property portfolios. When these portfolios are included in matrimonial assets, valuation is often in dispute and it can be difficult to know how to address this. Coming to an agreement on whether land and property are to be classed as a matrimonial asset or not, such as inherited wealth or other money that was brought into a marriage, is complex and requires the assistance of a skilled solicitor.
Since the Radmacher v Granatino case in 2010, and the Law Commission’s recommendation that prenuptial agreements should become legally binding, they are being taken into consideration more and more by the courts. A ‘prenup’ can be an effective way to plan what will happen to substantial wealth, including inherited wealth, a business, property and other assets in the event of divorce. The advice and assistance of an experienced solicitor, such as Bradie, who has drafted many prenuptial agreements, is vital.
Jurisdiction can be a huge cause of dispute for high net worth couples, as the country in which the divorce takes place can make a big difference to the divorce settlement. For example, a couple may live and own property in another country, but one of them has been or is still domiciled in the UK. One of them may wish to get divorced in the UK because they believe they will get a better deal. This can be because UK courts may be perceived to have more discretion and power when it comes to making financial awards. This is a complex area of law. Specific criteria will need to be met in both of the above circumstances and expert advice from a solicitor who has experience of dealing with this type of case, such as Bradie Pell, is required.