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Family

Family Disputes

A family or divorce related dispute can be a very difficult time; tensions run high and sometimes neither party is prepared to fully declare their assets or cooperate! Going through a divorce is hard enough without having to deal with complicated financial issues; Chris can make this process easier and less stressful so that divorce disputes are dealt with in the most respectable manner without tarnishing relationships.

Family disputes can do more harm than good but often times all the parties want is someone who will listen to them. This is exactly what Chris does! He ensures that all parties feel involved and listened to and any issues are dealt with amicably.


Sometimes it is necessary to investigate the finances of one party to the divorce, on behalf of the other. It used to be helped by the case of Hildebrand where, if one spouse found some papers that showed that the other was lying or understating their wealth, those papers could be used in evidence so long as they were shown to the other side. Chris has had some stunning results with Hildebrand. The case of Imerman stopped that – shame! Now one must be subtler in such investigations.

The usual situation in a family dispute is that the husband (usually the husband) wants to take the family business out of the marriage, so the wife will take the house and savings etc. But they need an even split, so what is the value of the business?

Typically, Chris gets a joint letter from the two spouses’ solicitors asking him to outline:

  • The worth of the whole company?
  • What is Mr/Mrs X’s share worth?
  • What tax would be payable if a share were transferred from one spouse to the other?
  • Would it be possible for a lump sum of money to be removed from the company to assist in a clean break?
  • If a clean break is not possible, what are the spouse’s future earnings likely to be?
  • And, crucially, what would he charge for producing a report on all of this for the court?

These are all questions that require clarification and investigation so that the court can make a clear decision.

If a split of assets (a “clean break”) is not possible in a court case, someone needs to help the court by saying how much the spouses are likely to earn in future, so that a periodic payments order may be made. And if a spouse is self-employed or a director of their own company, a forensic accountant will be needed to say how much he or she is likely to earn in the future.

Answers to these questions are critical to help the court make an informed decision during divorce disputes on what is to happen to the family’s business. This is why calling in an expert forensic accountant like Chris is important so that the court case runs smoothly and judges have all the information they need.

These days, except for the biggest value cases, the judge will only allow one expert accountant to act for both sides, and produce a joint report for the court. One acts as an SJE, or Single Joint Expert. Chris has done a vast number of these cases, and had special training as an SJE.

So he is in a prime position to liaise with you on any family disputes or related forensic accounting cases, which require thorough investigation of the financials and assets involved.

If you need assistance of a family forensic accountant then get in touch.

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