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Elizabeth (Liz) Allen
Specialism: Lawyers Family and Matrimonial
Company: Stephens Scown
Location: Exeter, 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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Instructed in case involving assets of £50 million with complex issues related to liquidity and capacity. Complex inter-company structures and property based SIPP.
Instructed in £15 million claim in relation to tech millionaire. Issues as to pre-acquired wealth and valuation of company assets
Dispute over shares in a £10m business in a forty-year marriage
Liz is acting for the wife in a forty-year marriage involving eleven properties and two significant car dealerships. The assets are worth approximately £10m. The wife has made important contributions to the businesses and their expansion as well as a full domestic contribution. These contributions are heavily disputed by the husband who wishes to retain the bulk of the parties' wealth and resist an equal division. There are complicated financial and valuation issues and tax consequences. Liz has involved a specialist accountant and it is clear that the husband has misrepresented his financial position by failing to produce consolidated accounts. The husband also has property abroad.
Retaining non-matrimonial shares in a third generation company
Liz is acting for the wife where she is a shareholder in a significant family company worth in excess of £30m. There were fully contested interim maintenance proposals where the husband is seeking maintenance for himself despite being employed and the children being based with the wife. The valuation of the business was fully disputed. The business consists of a trading enterprise and a very substantial commercial property portfolio so there were significant valuation issues both in terms of the commercial property and the need for a forensic accountant to value the business.
Layered on top of this is the fact that this is a third generation company in which none of the existing shareholders has taken any capital value from the business and wishes it to be preserved for future generations. Liz successfully argued on behalf of the wife that her entire shareholding should be regarded as non-matrimonial and not subject to division. The wife achieved a successful outcome which preserved matrimonial capital. There was also a trust fund for the benefit of the children and issues as to the relevance of the income received from the trust - the husband eventually agreed to resign from this trust.
Dispute over spousal maintenance
Liz is acting for the husband who is a full equity partner in a major city law firm earning approximately £1m. There are assets in the region of £12m including a valuable property in Devon and one in London involving the instruction of a number of valuers. There are heavily disputed valuation issues concerning both properties. The wife has not worked during the marriage, creating an issue as to whether the wife will receive a substantive maintenance order as well as division of the capital. There is a dispute as to whether the husband's capital and current accounts with his London firm should be taken into account at this stage. There are also issues as to the husband's future earning capacity and his possible retirement date, and a dispute over the relevance of the health conditions the adult children have and the husband's obligations to support them.