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Specialism: Lawyers Family and Matrimonial, Reputation Management
Company: Russells Solicitors
Location: London, England
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Average client size: £5 million - £25 million
Fixed fee offering: No
Number of offices globally: 1-5
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Dispute over assets of a same-sex couple, client lives in the UAE
This important case has generated considerable professional and popular interest, including stories in the press. It dealt with complex trust of land issues, misuse of company assets and ownership of motor vehicles. Our client is a financier living in the UAE. Our client and the other party had a fifteen-year same-sex relationship, which ended in 2009. They hadn’t married or entered into a Civil Partnership. Two valuable London properties were at the centre of the litigation. Our client claimed a fifty percent share in these, and in three companies of which the other party was sole shareholder. In one case, the defendant had transferred our client’s shares to the defendant’s name without our client’s knowledge, and had also taken cash from the businesses to invest in the properties. The case raised complex issues of company law, and had to be handled extremely delicately. It is of particular interest to family law professionals as it is a rare case involving a ‘marriage-like’ relationship between same-sex partners who had not entered into a formal relationship. In a seventy-eight-page judgement, the court agreed with us on all key points. The defendant is now appealing.
Secured an LA property despite the pre-nup
The case raised considerable complexities, in particular surrounding a pre-nup which our client had signed. Under the terms of this our client was not supposed to receive anything. Despite this we managed to secure for our client the ownership of a valuable property in LA. The most impressive aspect of the divorce, however, was how it was kept entirely out of the press. This ensured that nothing was said to inflame the situation in any way, allowing us to reach a very amicable settlement, the measure of which is that our client has even been granted rights to see the other party’s child by a previous relationship, with whom our client has nonetheless formed a bond.
High-profile divorce of an international footballer
We are involved in what is likely, over the course of the year, to become one of the highest profile celebrity divorces of the year, although we are keen to keep all information out of the public eye as much as possible, since the parties are keen to obtain an amicable, negotiated settlement. The case, which is currently at a relatively early stage, is interesting both because of the high value of the assets involved and the high profile of the individuals.
The client is an internationally known footballer and a longstanding client of the firm. Following our work during 2015 and 16 in connection with his successful objection to his former wife’s Children Act application to sanction a relocation of their children’s housing and schooling (during which our careful research demonstrated that the mother had lied to the court, misused maintenance meant for the children, and not thought through the consequences of the move) we then negotiated a complex prenuptial agreement on our client’s behalf with his new partner. During 2017 we have worked on the post-nuptial agreement with his new wife. As our client and his partner live in New York we have consulted a US attorney in connection with the pre and post-nuptial agreements. We also successfully challenged his ex-wife’s use of the child maintenance, which it transpired she had used to purchase a property for herself. We were successful in having this sold and the proceeds returned.