Divorcing High Wealth Individuals Protection of Present & Future Assets / Earnings

16/06/2016

Watson & Watson recently acted for Madeline in a property matter. A settlement of the property division between Madeline and her husband Jonathan was achieved. Madeline and Jonathan were both very high income earners.  Madeline was a Partner in an international law firm and Jonathan ran his own successful engineering firm. They each had real estate before they met and also had accumulated significant levels of superannuation and other investments and real estate.  They were married for over 10 years and had three children under 18 who lived with Madeline and spent some time with their father. 

Madeline’s aim was to receive a fair financial outcome without a fully contested litigation and the associated costs financially and personally that results from a fully contested dispute. Madeline was looking for a resolution which would allow her to continue in her successful position as Partner and to have quality time with her 3 children.   The settlement achieved this and provided protection of her present and future assets and continued earning.

A complex structure of financial arrangements had been set up for Madeline and Jonathan by their financial planner and advisors. The complex structure was set up   to ensure that the assets owned and their incomes were held and received was tax efficient as possible.  This had resulted in there being a complex structure of Trusts and a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund.

Madeline wished to ensure that once the property settlement had been agreed that Johnathan had no further claims in the future for ongoing spousal maintenance and no claim on the property she was to receive and retain under the settlement.  Madeline came from a wealthy family and wished to ensure that no claim could be made by Johnathan against any money that she might inherit in the future or any claim made against her estate once she died. 

Madeline and Jonathan separated and needed to unravel their financial relationship and achieve a situation where they each had their own assets, liabilities and income stream independently of the other.

Following receipt of instructions from Madeline, Dennis Grant an experienced family law lawyer reviewed the financial position of Madeline and determined the extent of the assets and liabilities and the inter-relationship between the assets of Madeline and Jonathan.

Dennis Grant also obtained disclosure from Jonathan as to his financial position and considered documents disclosed by Jonathan to ascertain the true financial position of Madeline and Jonathan. 

There were negotiations undertaken which resulted in a resolution without resorting to the Family Court for a determination of what would have been an expensive exercise.  Such proceedings would be expensive, time consuming and detrimental to the financial position of Madeline in her position and also that of Jonathan in his business.  Not only would there be financial consequences but also other adverse consequences in particular having regard to the ongoing relationship that each of Madeline and Jonathan had with their 3 children.

Watson & Watson acted for Madeline and the matter was settled. Careful consideration was given to the settlement and documentation thereof so as to ensure that:

 

  1. Jonathan resigned from and exited the Family Trust and holding companies. 

 

  1. Jonathan exited the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund and established his own superannuation fund and that the superannuation entitlements were divided. 

 

  1. Jonathan resigned from and exited from the various companies who were the trustees of the Trust and the Superannuation Fund.

 

  1. Appointment of new Trustees to act as Trustees of the family trust and the superannuation fund.

 

  1. Consent Orders approved by the Family Court of Australia.

 

  1. A Deed of Release under the Succession Act NSW 2006 to protect the Deceased Estate

 

  1. A Binding Financial Agreement excluding the right of each of them to apply for periodic spousal maintenance or lump sum spousal maintenance in the future.  

If you have any matters relating to family law disputes and in particular where there are interweaved financial circumstances, please contact Richard Watson and obtain initial advice so that you can obtain a better outcome in resolution of the financial matters.

Unfortunately there are some financial matters that cannot be resolved.  Richard and the experienced family law team will be able to guide you through with experienced negotiation or resolution or determination by the Family Court on a costs effective basis. 

If you have any queries please telephone Richard Watson or his personal assistant Shereen Da Gloria for an initial discussion.

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