Where do HNW Individuals Turn to for Family Law Advice?
Congratulations to our friends at Stewarts Law who came home from the Chambers High Net Worth awards with well-deserved recognition as family law team of the year, an award for which FLiP was shortlisted and have previously won in 2021.
The challenges for those needing services in this area are not be underestimated. Generally with great wealth comes a proliferation and diversity of resources – and thus issues. Any one of which may provide the unresolvable problem that might propel a situation to court. Smaller levels of wealth will often not contain the same complexity – and perhaps more importantly, the difference between two positions is more likely to be swallowed up in the costs. That commercial brake on litigation may not exist where the resources are measured in the tens or hundreds of millions.
In some situations litigation (going to court) may be the only practical option available. Even when litigation is required it’s important to have a team that has a constructive approach and the high end legal skills to represent you in the best light. This has benefited many clients across the years.
However alternative routes to achieving a resolution should always be considered.
Why this all matters so much more now is that courts are overburdened, the court may simply not have time to give complex issues the attention that may really be needed for anyone to feel that the problems have been given the care and attention they needed. This comes leaping out of the judgments that are handed down at the end of the case. It is often – as is often unavoidable – pretty high level stuff, inevitably at odds with the time, effort and energy that went into the process. Anyone thinking that they might want to step out on the court journey should only do so having read for example Alvina Collardeau-Fuchs v Michael Fuchs  EWFC 135.
Secondly the wait for court dates is so often so long that the landscape will change – and not always for the better. Far down the litigation track, either side may come to look back and wonder whether the deal that seemed available in the early days was so poor after all.
But above all, it is the arrival of ‘transparency’. Increasingly, we have seen names, personal details and details of finance laid bare in these judgments available to anyone to read, alongside – so often – a range of complaints about marital behaviour (which generally have few impacts on the legal outcome but a long shadow in terms of the poor parties coming to terms with what has been disclosed about their private lives).
These three elements point robustly to the need for settlement, settlement away from the eyes and ears of court reporters and without a process that so often has more to do with showing who has had less of the truth than how this next chapter of separated lives might commence. Pushing off and away from the banks of negotiation and into the murky waters of the court process has its risks and it is why FLiP works so hard at its settlement expertise and prides itself on the value it delivers its clients from its skills in this area, using court only where negotiated solutions can’t be found.
Often the solutions reached by agreement on the banks can be crafted with greater sophistication, stretching resources further and better providing for the aspirations of each side. This is not only because they are worked out between the parties more carefully because there is more time. Often it is because we have the opportunity to involve other professionals in working out the answers, such as the tax, wealth planning and other technical skills from our colleagues at Taylor Wessing or other appropriate experts. Having the right contacts to add value to the conversation is a crucial part of keeping everyone safe on the banks.
The safe conclusion of these settlements is incredibly gratifying – it is what we are here for.