Trusts are common in England and Wales as well as all countries world-wide that derive their law from England and Wales. Divorce settlements frequently involve them.

It is said that trusts began at the time of the crusades. Landowners departing from England would entrust their property to a custodian for the benefit of their family. Detailed laws arose setting out the obligations of the custodian – the “trustee,” that is, the person in whose trust you placed the property.

Over the centuries it was used as a means of ensuring that an estate could not be frittered away by irresponsible descendants, and in more modern times it became a valuable device to avoid repeated inheritance tax imposts landing on each successive generation, and often to shelter income from tax.

The English divorce courts look at the underlying reality as well as carefully studying the documentation. For example if the reality is that the trust does hold family wealth perhaps stretching back for half a century or more, that may lead a Court to decide that on-going maintenance orders are a better solution that trying to force a termination of the trust. In other cases though (see the case of Prest v. Petrodel as a modern example) the trust is just used as the founder’s piggy bank and the Courts can be robust in their approach.

Brookman have long experience of trusts both in establishing them in the course of estate planning and dealing with them in divorce settlements.

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Financial Settlement Scenarios

The scenarios below do not relate to any individual clients of ours but the facts and the outcomes relate to some similar experiences in our practice.

Scenario Analysis Example #1

The Scenario

Mrs G left the home last year due to her husband's alcoholism. The home is in his name and he refuses to co-operate. He works as a Sales Director and has a large pension accumulated from fifteen years with his employer.

Our Solution

Mrs G petitioned for divorce on the basis of her husband's unreasonable behaviour. At the same time we filed a financial application. When Mr G failed to make financial disclosure we obtained an Order requiring him to do so in 14 days or risk imprisonment for contempt of Court.

It was made clear that if he did not co-operate then the Court would make Orders giving Mrs G her share anyway and if necessary Mrs G would be given power to sell the house and to evict him. Mr G then settled the case.

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Scenario Analysis Example #2

The Scenario

In 1980 Mr G aged 25 was living with his partner.  When she became pregnant he made a Will making her the executor and leaving everything to her.  They separated 2 years later.  The child is now adult.  He re-partnered and had 1 child but the relationship again ended after 2 years.  He continued paying his ex partner’s rent rather than go through the Child Support Agency.  

He met his third partner in 1994 and they had 3 children.  He died in 2010.  He had never made another Will or revoked the one made in 1980, but he had quite substantial assets by the time of his death.  What rights did his ex- partners and 4 children have?

Our Solution

Briefly, Mr G left a huge mess.  His ex-partners challenged the Will in the Courts.  The dependent children had claims.  Did the adult son, who was independent and 28 years old, have a claim?  What rights did the mothers have where they were left supporting children under 18?

Ultimately a judge had to decide on the balance of fairness between the minor children bearing in mind the available resources.  His first partner and adult child did not receive anything.  The cost of sorting this out used almost half the estate.The moral is, make a Will!

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Talitha offers sound advice, asks the right questions and advises you with what you need to know not just what you want to hear. I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sep 2021   Anu Vidyarthi

Henry took the time to go through all the details of my separation thoroughly. He was very clear on what my options were and what I needed to do to have a seamless agreement with my ex. Thank you for all your help!

Aug 2021   Sandeep Cina

Talitha provided a free consultation and could not have been more helpful. Her guidance was pragmatic and she managed my expectations both on costs and the process. Talitha offered practical advice to find a solution that could avoid going to court.

Aug 2021   Richard Doyle

I had an initial chat with Kevin, the senior associate. Extra ordinary talent to convince parties, very intelligent and I was wonderstuck at his brilliant knowledge of family law.

Aug 2021   Mrs. M. Merchant

I have nothing but positive feedback about this firm... Lorraine Imms from Brookman was absolutely brilliant... Her knowledge is exceptional and she has kept me informed through every step... I'd give ten stars if I could!

Jun 2021   Martin Byrne

Myself and my mother had a free video consultation with Mr. Brookman regarding my mother's divorce and were both impressed with his knowledge on divorce matters, professionalism and understanding. Henry then followed up with us with a clear plan of what he suggests we do...

Mar 2021   Bruna Cordeiro Pezzano

I had a consultation with Mr. Brookman and was impressed with his honesty, knowledge and understanding of my situation. He seemed to take a genuine interest in my case, which immediately put me at ease.

Mar 2021   Chichi

Very swift response and concise information. I had a very engaging free consultation with Mr Brookman initially which was informative and professional.

Feb 2021   Garry Ralph

I would like to say my experience with Mr Brookman was an extremely positive experience. His knowledge, advice and compassion put me very much at ease and made a very difficult situation much more bearable.

Feb 2021   Jenny Brock

Very helpful, and honest about my situation even though it wasn’t business for them at this time. Would recommend.

Jan 2021   Natalie Roche

About The Team

We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law team, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Henry Brookman has practised law for over 45 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

Partner

Henry Brookman

With over 45 years' experience, Henry Brookman is the senior member of the team. He is described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

Partner

Talitha Brookman

Talitha is a Partner in the firm and a very experienced practitioner. She has been exclusively practising family law for over 15 years and is a recognised expert in her field.

Partner

Philip Morton

Recommended by The Legal 500, Philip is an expert in all areas of family law, including domestic and international financial disputes, fraud and commercial dispute resolution.

Partner

Natasha Slabas

Expert in all areas of family law, often involving cases that have an international element, including work in relation to financial settlements following divorce.

Partner

Aziz Malik

Aziz is a Partner at the firm and is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and has been recommended by the Legal 500.

Senior Associate

Kirsty Kelleher

Kirsty is a specialist family law solicitor recommended by The Legal 500. An expert in divorce, financial matters, child-related disputes and contentious probate cases.

Senior Associate

Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

Associate Solicitor

Jennifer Douglas

Jennifer is a talented solicitor, experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings and financial claims.

Associate Solicitor

Gavin Yeung

Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings involving Hague Convention countries.

Senior Associate

Pippa Marshall

Pippa’s experience covers all areas of family law including divorce, financial remedies, same sex relationships, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitee property disputes.

Chartered Legal Executive

Lorraine Imms

With over 20 years' family law experience, Lorraine can advise on divorce, matrimonial finances, cohabitee disputes, nuptial agreements and private children matters.

Office Manager

Lorna Martin

Lorna is our Office Manager who oversees the operations of the firm including providing accounts support as well as secretarial support to the team.

Accounts Manager

Evdokia Dikova

Eva is an AAT qualified accounts manager and holds full AAT membership (MAAT). She gained her degree in financial accounting from the University of Economics in Bulgaria.

Secretary

Victoria Delatouche

Victoria is a highly experienced Legal Secretary and a long-standing member of the team. She provides secretarial support for the office.

Secretary

Michelle Louison

Michelle provides secretarial support to Henry Brookman. A very experienced family law secretary, Michelle has worked in law for over 12 years.

Front of House Manager

Patricia Antonio

Patricia is an experienced secretary and office administrator, handling the calls that come into the office, greeting clients, and managing office presentation.

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