Divorce & Matrimonial Finance

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The Family Finance team at Becket Chambers specialises in all aspects of matrimonial and family finance, from cases concerning modest assets through to high value cases. Members have considerable experience in dealing with injunctive relief, businesses, trusts, third party interests and cases involving an international dimension.

Our members regularly deal with applications for financial provision for children and other relief following the breakdown of a relationship.

Our expertise:

  • Fair division of the assets following separation
  • Financial orders for children
  • Transfer of tenancies
  • Cases involving companies, partnerships or trusts
  • Inherited or pre-acquired wealth
  • Family property rights on insolvency
  • Cases involving assets acquired from third parties, whether by gift or loan

We also have expertise in related financial applications such as:

  • Schedule I of the Children Act 1989
  • Providing advice on calculations under the Child Support Act 1991
  • Applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Applications under the Married Women’s Property Act 1882

The team has experience and expertise in appearing in courts at all levels within the Family Court.

We also undertake and act for clients in cohabitee disputes. Several members of the team are also qualified mediators.

Case Studies

Negotiating a Final Order at First Directions Appointment

Melanie represented the Applicant in a First Directions Appointment during which it was possible to negotiate a Final Order. The assets involved consisted of various capital and overseas assets, including trust property. With Melanie’s expert negotiation, a Final Order was agreed whereby the Court approved the Order the Applicant was seeking, and the parties avoided Continue reading

Securing the family home plus costs for Wife

Sophie acted for a Wife in financial proceedings following a long marriage. The Husband was acting as litigant in person and had continuously failed to properly engage with proceedings or comply with directions made by the Court. Due to the difficulties posed by the Husband’s lack of compliance, Sophie had to adopt a robust approach, Continue reading

Protecting a husband’s inherited property

Christopher acted for the Respondent Husband in a difficult case where low incomes and limited equity in the family home limited the potential for both parties to afford housing. It was already agreed that the Wife should stay in the home with the children until they had finished school. The complicating factor in this case Continue reading

Protecting a Husband’s pension after a long separation

Philip acted for the Husband in a dispute centring on his pension, and the length of time since separation. He was successful in restricting the Wife’s share of his client’s pension to a small percentage, with a clean break because of the time elapsed since the separation and the circumstances at that time.  

Divorce & Matrimonial Finance Articles

Financial Remedy: Pension Overview, Off-Setting and Duxbury Re-Visited

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the Court’s approach to pensions in financial remedy proceedings generally and revisit specific issues such as pension off-setting and Duxbury calculations raised in my previous article published in July 2016 under the title, “Financial Remedy: Pension Values and Offsetting – Quo Vadimus”. PENSION OVERVIEW Continue reading

Upward variation of periodical payments after the recipient’s financial recklessness – an answer at last!

In February 2017 I wrote an article on the case of Mills v. Mills [2017] EWCA Civ 129 (http://becket-chambers.co.uk/2017/02/28/upward-variation-periodical-payments-recipients-financial-recklessness-political-hot-potato/) which considered whether capital needs could, in effect, be revisited in a future application to vary periodical payments. The case has now been reconsidered by the Supreme Court; here I provide a reminder of the original Continue reading

A roundup of the President’s lecture on a unified, re-vamped family court

It is a familiar problem. A divorce is being endured. It is, by definition, fractious and, most importantly, still fractious in respect of the children. Or, put in lawyer’s tongue, there are ongoing matrimonial finance proceedings, in which the children are the first consideration (section 25 (1) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) but the “child arrangements” Continue reading

Take “Hart,” Judges Will Use Their Powers Including Imprisonment To Punish Contempt In Relation To Non Production Of Documents.

Have you ever felt frustrated by the Courts’ reluctance to use its powers to enforce disclosure?   In the latest round in the long running bout of Hart v Hart, HHJ Wildblood QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge has sentenced the Husband (H) to 14 months imprisonment for contempt for failing to produce documents Continue reading

The 18th View from the President’s Chambers “The on-going process of reform – Financial Remedies Courts”

Last month, Sir James Munby published his 18th View from the President’s Chambers. “The on-going process of reform – Financial Remedies Courts” expands upon the 17th View (“divorce and money – where are we and where are we going?” [2017] Fam Law 607) and the “President’s Circular: Financial Remedies Courts” [2018] Fam Law 91. The Continue reading

The Collaborative Process

Following separation, the traditional process of resolution of issues through correspondence or the court process works for many. But, whether to avoid the long delays caused by court listings, the cost of complying with directions or simply the adversarial nature of disputes, an increasing number are now seeking a more amicable resolution. The collaborative process Continue reading

The accelerated procedure in applications to vary financial provision orders: just how flexible is it?

It is easy to get so used to the ‘standard’ procedure for financial provision claims that little attention is given to the accelerated procedure when a variation application comes around. It often happens that the parties – and the court – fall into the usual routine of extensive disclosure, questionnaires and, inevitably, cost. But a Continue reading

Can a Schedule 1 Children Act Application be Barred by Reason of the Issue Having Been Covered in the Earlier Financial Remedy Final Order?

I recently had a hybrid Child Arrangements Order, Specific Issue Order (Schools) and Schedule 1 Children Act case where the Husband/Father argued that because the Financial Remedy final order had referred to the issue of school fees in the preamble, recording that the Wife would endeavour to pay half and that the parties would review Continue reading

“The elephant trap of premature remarriage”: the dangers of ignoring section 28(3) of the MCA 1973

Many of us will have experience of section 28 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (‘MCA 1973’). Regular reference is made to section 28(1A) which allows the court to prohibit any application under section 31 to extend the term of a periodical payments order. We all regularly use section 28(1), which provides that the remarriage Continue reading

Duties towards litigants-in-person: a timely reminder

Peter Jackson J has used a recent case to remind practitioners of the need to adapt normal working practices when dealing with a litigant-in-person. The case, reported as Re B (Litigant in Person: Timely Service of Documents) [2016] EWHC 2365 (Fam), involved the alleged abduction of a child.  The father was represented, the mother was Continue reading

Matrimonial Finance: The Self-Destructive Tendencies of the Goyal Couple

Throughout a marriage, more often than not, the parties see themselves as a team, contributing either financially or otherwise for their common good. On divorce, self-interest habitually becomes the priority. However, more frequently than one would hope, the intention of a party can be to make their former spouse suffer, indeed in some instances that Continue reading

Myth-busting the collaborative process

In my view there are many reasons why we lawyers should be getting serious about the collaborative process. The first is the over-stretched, over-burdened and under-resourced Court Service, which means that clients have to wait longer than ever for the resolution of their case.  The second is the ever-more-limited resources of clients, and the difficulty Continue reading

Upward variation of periodical payments after the recipient’s financial recklessness. A political hot potato

The case that has caught the attention of the sensationalist press recently is that of Graham and Maria Mills. Divorced in 2002, Mrs Mills was at that time awarded a lump sum of £230,000 and periodical payments of £1,100 p.c.m.. Some 15 years later, the Court of Appeal was considering her application to vary the Continue reading

Arbitration: Are Divorcing Couples Loathe To Arbitrate About Financial Matters Because It Lacks Certainty?

The recent decision in DB v DLJ (more below) led me to consider whether the relatively low take-up of arbitration as a means to resolving Family Financial issues between divorcing couples is as the result of a concern as to whether arbitration decisions have sufficient certainty to provide the divorcing parties with enough confidence in Continue reading

3 things collaborative law training taught me

A few weeks ago I attended the Resolution training on collaborative law.  For those not acquainted with the concept, collaborative practice looks for a client-led solution to family disputes, with both sides being represented and agreeing their own arrangements at a series of four-way meetings.  The lawyers and parties sign a commitment to work collaboratively, Continue reading

Interveners (or Third Parties) & Setting Aside Dispositions – Cautionary Tales

An amended version of a paper originally presented at the Becket Chambers’ Family Finance Seminar at Eastbourne, Dartford & Canterbury on the 8th, 9th & 11th February 2016. Bringing third parties into financial remedy proceedings is an extremely risky and potentially costly business.  The two tales are cautionary in very different ways; the first being Continue reading

Blog: Is It Always Necessary To Obtain Final Financial Orders Even In “No Money” Cases? Or “What If I Ever Win The National Lottery (Or Build Up A Multi Million Pound Eco-Company)?”

The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Wyatt v Vince [2015] UKSC14 is of vital importance to divorcing, and divorced, couples underlining the need always to obtain final settlement orders with respect to the financial claims which arise from a marriage.    It is a real problem for many people with the unavailability of legal Continue reading

Blog: Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll – when is conduct so bad that it would be “inequitable to disregard”?

The recent case of MAP v. MFP [2015] EWHC 627 gives guidance on this very question.  In financial remedy proceedings section 25(2)(g) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 allows for conduct to be taken into account when “it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard”. A line of case-law, most notably Continue reading

Divorce & Matrimonial Finance Testimonials

“…Just been speaking to client on this matter. She told me that you were amazing today and she is really grateful. She would heartily recommend you…”

Miss B from solicitors instructing Sophie Gray – Aug 18

 

“Please pass on to Mr Kenny that he was amazing and so very good. He has changed my life – having done an excellent job – and life is now so much better. Thank you.”

Ms B Instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors – March 18

“With regards to Mr Kenny, please pass my thanks on to him; in my opinion he handles himself well in front of the Judge.

I believe that the average person in the street believes that Solicitors/Barristers are the only winners and that they don’t really care about their Clients as it is just a job for them. Well i now know different, i know that you are both kind, caring, understanding and had my best interests at  heart and i THANK YOU for that.”

Mr B Instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors – March 18

“The client advised that he was pleased overall with agreement reached at Court yesterday and asked that I convey to you his thanks.  He advised that he felt you were both utterly honest and sincere and had his best interests at heart.  He said his faith in lawyers had been restored.”

 

Ms S from Solicitors Instructing Edward Kenny – March 18

‘John has been a huge help to me, I feel entirely supported and he gives me the strength to fight on. John is totally brilliant- the most charming man I’ve met, and when there’s a fight coming it’s like a switch flicks in his head, he certainly puts me at ease and could not imagine dealing with my case without him fighting my corner. You can so see he was a boxer before he was a lawyer!’

Mr B Instructing John Nee through Solicitors – November 17

“I was recently represented by Mr Kenny at the FDR for my divorce proceedings, and would like to pass on my heartfelt thanks for the excellent work he carried out on my behalf.

His quick grasp of facts, his knowledge, calmness and reassurance, along with appropriate use of case law brought a swift end to what had been a long and painful process, and had the potential to drag on for even longer.

He was able to succinctly assess all the options and suggest the ones he felt were the most suitable. His negotiation skills and ability to read the situation have undoubtedly resulted in an excellent outcome on my behalf.”

Mr R Instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors – October 2017

“…I have been very impressed with the professionalism shown by John Nee whilst he represented me.  Not only knowledgeable, John has an approachable, interested and caring manner with clients during what can be a traumatic time in their lives.  Throughout the process I felt in safe, caring hands.  Should the need arise I would have no hesitation in seeking his advice.  Highly recommended…”

Mr instructing John Nee through Solicitors – March 17

“I would be grateful if you could pass on my sincere thanks to Christopher Wall and this endorsement of him.  Christopher has been a diligent, precise and insightful professional in execution of his brief to me.  I found him to be a proactive challenger of my account of events, analytical and quick to validate or query in order to establish the facts and then incisive in his determination of how they should be marshalled and presented.

Consequently I felt clear on the potential strengths and weaknesses of my case as I stood for the cross examination.  I actually have a regard for the approach and aggression the opposing barrister took with me however Christopher’s  professionalism and thoroughness was such that I was well prepared for what followed, and the strength and effectiveness of the barrister’s tactics were undermined.

This was further evidenced with his consummate summary to the judge, during which he not only presented the case clearly and logically but also carefully reminded the judge of the legalities around the case whilst calmly countering points made only minutes before.

I have no hesitation in endorsing Christopher and have no hesitation in recommending him for future clients.”

Mr B instructing Christopher Wall through solicitors – January 17

We are extremely pleased with the result of the FDR and the fact that this matter is concluded to the clients satisfaction. The result is certainly a good one.

Ms S from a firm of Solicitors instructing Dean Thistle – June 16

“…I would like to express how very impressed I was by Mr Edward Kenny…I found him to be both thoughtful and very calm and collected in his speech…The day I was dreading was made a whole lot more manageable by the skill and professionalism demonstrated by Mr Kenny…In fact I was blown away by his sterling performance…”

Mrs C instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors – May 2016

“…Could I just add at this point that I am very grateful for all your help and assistance over the year and would recommend the services of Becket Chambers to anyone who may need to use such services in the future…”

Miss W instructing Melanie McIntosh through the DPA scheme – May 16

“Just wanted to say thank you for yesterday…at least it is all over….I can start to move forward with my life”

Mrs S N instructing Louisa Adamson through Solicitors – April 16

Thank you, that was another good result. It’s evident that it comes down to the amount of preparation you clearly do.

The client is very happy.

Ms P from Solicitors instructing Holly Coates – April 16

“John was just brilliant, calm, knowledgeable, and clearly adopted a ‘no-nonsense’ approach with the opponent which resulted in an outcome I was happy with.  I felt John had a genuine sense of wanting to achieve the best outcome for me which inspired me with confidence that somebody was looking after my interests.”

Mr H instructing John Nee through the DPA scheme – April 16

“Mr Nee was fantastic yesterday, all you said he was and he absolutely floored the otherside”

Ms G instructing John Nee through Solicitors – February 16

“The client asked me to pass on that on leaving court she was smiling in such a way she hadn’t done so for such a long time. She now sees a future for herself”.

Ms R Instructing John Nee through Solicitors – January 16

“The client confirmed that she felt you conducted yourself with great skill and logic at court, and after matters concluded she felt a great burden lifted from her shoulders.”

Ms T instructing John Nee through Solicitors – January 16

“Thank you very much for this, and also thank you for your great work in this case, I am very happy with the final result.”

Ms C instructing Philip Newton through solicitors – January 16

“I would like to express my gratitude of thanks to Mr Edginton, his professionalism was outstanding and he explained everything to me thoroughly and knew the facts surrounding my case very quickly.

I would highly recommend Mr Edginton to anyone who needs legal representation.”

Ms E instructing Ronald Edginton through the DPA scheme – January 16

“Mr G came into the office today to say how wonderful Ed Kenny was at the above hearing.”

Ms P from a firm of Solicitors instructing Edward Kenny – December 15

“….John Nee did a fine job for us, on a case that the judge called “the most
difficult she had heard”. He was helpful and professional and consulted me
fully on strategy which was good of him….”

Mr L instructing John Nee through Instructing Solicitors – August 15

 

“….you deliver a fantastic service to me, you are always on time, you report back to me with detailed AN, if not the same day, within the next 24 hours….you are always available to offer advice where needed and will help guide me in the right direction if required….you are very fair and sympathetic, but at the same time will often give very stern constructive advice when a client needs it the most….”

Miss K from a firm of solicitors instructing John Nee – July 15

“….My wife and I were impressed with John Nee – professional, sharp, focused and considerate – thank you very much for selecting him to represent….”

Mr L instructing John Nee through instructing Solicitors – May 15

“….I am really impressed by how professional the contact has been on the telephone, by the bravery shown by Mr Edginton taking on such a case….he grasped all the information, he made me feel less scared….I am so grateful for your help….Thank you Mr Smith and Mr Edginton….”

Mrs N instructing Ron Edginton through the DPA scheme – February 15

“….i feel they have an exact idea of the case as my Barrister has represented me for 5 years and we have a good understanding between us….i think the service overall has been wonderful through from the Clerks to my Barrister….”

Mrs B instructing Sandria Murkin through the DPA scheme & Instructing Solicitors – 2009 – 2014

“….Thank you so much for all your hard work yesterday….I thought you were fab! ……With what may be a total deposit of £100k this is life changing…. Thank you so much. I think that [my ex husband] was right about one thing- you are the best….”

Mrs K-H instructing Christopher Wall through the DPA scheme – September 14

“….Thank you to Clive Styles for his help today and the clerks for arranging things so quickly for me, great service and using Direct Access very affordable….”

Mrs S instructing Clive Styles through the DPA scheme – April 14

“….my spirits and confidence rose as i realised i was in good hands….it was the best outcome for which i could possibly have dared wish….and for that i can only express my heartfelt gratitude….”

Mr B insructing Philip Newton through Instructing Solicitors – February 14

“….my Barrister was superb. Couldn’t have been any better….you have a top team….felt completely on my own until i found Chambers….Mr Thistle is outstanding and helped me every step of the way….i feel i couldn’t have had any better outcome if i had paid a vast amount more….”

Mrs B instructing Dean Thistle through the DPA scheme – February 2014