We are regularly instructed by family law teams in matrimonial matters to value shareholdings and other financial assets and to undertake asset tracing exercises. Those instructing us range from small regional law firms to the most prominent family law teams and boutiques in the UK, and overseas. We are regularly instructed in family law cases with an overseas dimension.
Whilst many of our instructions in matrimonial matters tend to be as Single Joint Expert (SJE), we are also regularly instructed as both party Expert and increasingly as party advisor/ shadow expert where there is an SJE (including assisting in drafting instructions to the SJE and questions on their report). We have also been involved in matters which are being settled by mediation.
All our forensic accounting partners are highly experienced in acting as expert witness and have given evidence under cross-examination on numerous occasions. We are also conscious of the particular sensitivities that can be present in family law cases and approach matters in a robust but sensitive manner, particularly when meeting or speaking with the parties. Our reports are written to present complex financial issues in an easy to understand format, which can often assist spouses in reaching agreement.
Much of our work in matrimonial matters involves us being required to value shareholdings, companies, businesses and partnerships. We have significant experience in valuation matters and have undertaken valuations of literally hundreds of businesses across most industry sectors and of all sizes.
Our instructions often also require us to comment on areas such as the liquidity of a business (i.e. to what extent can funds be withdrawn as part of the proceedings), the ongoing income that a spouse might reasonably be able to derive from a business and various tax implications.
We are also often instructed to provide guidance on Form E disclosures, in particular reviewing information that has been included by one of the spouses and identifying any potential shortcomings or questions that should be asked. This can include reviewing shareholdings, company accounts, bank statements and other financial documentation. Our investigations team is also experienced in tracing assets and undertaking surveillance in matrimonial matters.
We also advise on the structuring of pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements, for example, where clients require a contemporaneous valuation of assets to be undertaken.