Assistance in matrimonial cases

We have undertaken work in relation to many matrimonial cases and our role varies, depending on the particular circumstances of each matter.

We can act as single joint expert providing an assessment of the valuation of an owner managed business, often including consideration of liquidity and the tax consequences of an extraction of funds or realising the asset. Our role as a single joint expert has to be at arm’s length from each of the instructing parties, so we aim to offer an efficient and cost-effective service in relation to these matters.

On other occasions we might act as a party appointed expert, often in complex or high value cases, where we present evidence in relation to the same areas as set out above, but on behalf of one of the parties.

We can also undertake the role of expert adviser, assisting solicitors in raising questions to be put to single joint experts and advising them generally in relation to matters on the financial consequences of an outcome. We appreciate that it can be difficult for solicitors to be comfortable that they have identified all the issues in such cases, which is why we also undertake this role to provide a sounding board and specialist input on forensic accounting matters.

Finally, we have undertaken investigations into allegations of assets being withheld, misappropriated or undervalued, where one party considers that there is inadequate disclosure, and it is necessary to identify whether the full picture is being presented.

If you would like to find out more about how we are able to assist you, please get in touch.

Contact our Forensic accounting team on 0808 144 5575 to discuss how we can help you.

Case Studies

   Single joint expert valuation

We were appointed to value the shareholding of the husband in a metal plating business owned by the husband and his brother. As with any business valuation the key to our work is obtaining an understanding of the business and the key features that will enable its profits to be sustained going forward. A telephone interview was undertaken with the husband and also his brother who was the financial director.

Ahead of these conversations, we spoke to the wife in order to obtain her knowledge and understanding of the business, and to identify if there were any issues she was aware of that we should address in our conversations with the owner managers. Based on this information gathering exercise, and subsequent analysis and verification of the data, we were able to prepare a valuation of the business which, together with its ability to extract funds from a non-trading asset, enabled financial resolution to be achieved.

   Matrimonial investigation

We were approached by a solicitor to assist a wife who suspected that her husband was hiding assets. The only assets declared by him were a modest art collection and shares held in an off-shore trust that he stated were worthless. The husband had previously stated that he had given up his role in the firm he had founded due to the pressures of the divorce.

As a result of our investigations we were able to cast significant doubt upon the husband’s disclosure and show that there was evidence to indicate that he had an alternative source of funds and was effectively continuing to run his business in the name of his new partner. The Court did not accept the husband’s explanations and awarded significant assets to the wife, including the shares in the off-shore trust, which actually had a considerable value despite his declaration that they were worthless.

   Expert advisor

We were approached by a solicitor who asked for assistance in considering the disclosure provided with the husband’s Form E. An SJE accountant was then appointed and, when their report was available, we were asked to provide a critique of this and identify areas where questions could be put to the SJE regarding their valuation. Our instructing solicitor was able to use our input to negotiate a very favourable settlement at the FDR, whereas the solicitor on the other side – without the benefit of independent advice – struggled to understand the consequences of a complex report.

   Expert valuation and investigation

We were approached by a solicitor to assist a wife in valuing shares held by her husband in a hotel business. There was some ambiguity as to the husband’s true position in the company. During the period of the marriage financial statements had not been prepared. We therefore had to approach the valuation from a different perspective than we would normally.

Using incomplete records obtained by the wife and information gathering carried out relating to occupancy levels, we were able to prepare projected profit and loss accounts and a valuation of the business thereon. The valuation was used in reaching a settlement in relation to the entire matrimonial assets.

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