TWO EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES TO JOIN LEVISON MELTZER PIGOTT

Are you looking for a new challenge?

Are you looking to work in a dynamic and well-respected team?

Do you want to push yourself in a boutique practice that prides itself on excellence and commitment to client care?

If so, we would like to hear from you.

Levison Meltzer Pigott LLP is a boutique family law practice operating front and centre in the industry, with a commitment to excellence in all we do.

We are recruiting for two roles:

  1. A solicitor of 4-5PQE with an appetite to be pushed and encouraged in their personal career development and who has worked in family law since qualification.
  2. A paralegal with 12 months+ family law experience.

The successful candidate in each position will be exposed to high quality work, with opportunities to work alongside the partners of the firm and as a member of the LMP team. You will work on both financial and children cases, with experience in both areas a prerequisite for the role. Other areas of your practice will include Schedule 1 and FLA proceedings and nuptial agreements. In all cases you will work alongside the well-known names at the Bar.

Solicitor and paralegal alike, you will be actively encouraged to take the initiative in supporting the firm’s marketing and business development.

To apply for either position, please email your CV and a short covering letter in support of your application to [email protected]

Please specify your preferred role when submitting your application.

Strictly no agencies, please.

Salary: competitive.

Deadline for applications: 31 August 2022

Chambers HNW Guide 2022 – LMP once again recognised as leading firm for Family/Matrimonial

Levison Meltzer Pigott (LMP) and partners Jeremy Levison, Simon Pigott, Kate Stovold, and Benjamin Stowe are ranked in the recently launched Chambers High Net Worth 2022. Congratulations to Kate and Ben who enter the tables for the first time as “Up and Coming”. Jeremy as Senior Statesman and Simon ranked in Band 1 continue to be recognised as leading lawyers but this year in the newly formed Ultra High Net Worth table. Simon also appears in the Spotlight table for mediators.

The Guide, now in its seventh year, has always featured LMP, and the firm is pleased to be included again this year. Ranking the leading lawyers and law firms specialising in advising HNW clients, the Guide also features feedback from clients and peers.

This year’s Guide includes the following testimonials:

“They would be one of the firms that I would recommend friends and family to. They are completely on top of matters and really easy to deal with”

“They are a longstanding respected boutique firm; they are the kind of firm you’ll feel comfortable referring clients to. They are sensible lawyers that know what they’re doing”

 

Individual Lawyer quotes include:

Simon Pigott:

“Simon is very, very experienced, very knowledgeable and very collaborative. He’s seen it all before which makes him very unflappable”

“If you were a client, you would find his manner very reassuring”

 

Jeremy Levison:

“He is as very experienced operator.”

“An incredible lawyer.” “Very charismatic.”

 

Kate Stovold:

“She’s got all the qualities you want in a lawyer: she’s so hardworking and dedicated to her clients, she’s not afraid of a fight and she approaches everything analytically”

“She is one of my favourite people to work with. She is very, very easy to work with, pragmatic and well prepared. She is intelligent, nice to deal with and fantastic with clients”

“Kate Stovold is dazzlingly smart; her knowledgeable judgement really shines on a case” 

“Kate Stovold is absolutely amazing”

 

Benjamin Stowe:

“He’s got a really bright future. He is unflappable, so hardworking and gets to grips with complicated facts quickly”

“He’s so calm under pressure, he’s really efficient and good at providing sensible advice. He makes clients feel reassured and understood”

All five LMP partners feature in the Spear’s Family Law Index 2022 for the best family lawyers for high-net-worth clients

Congratulations to Jeremy Levison, Simon Pigott, Alison Hayes, Kate Stovold and Benjamin Stowe on being recognised by the, just published, Spear’s Family Law Index 2022. This is the first time that all the partners at Levison Meltzer Pigott have been included in this annual ranking of divorce lawyers specialising in HNW clients.

Jeremy and Simon are recognised as “Top Recommended”; Alison, Kate and Ben are “Recommended”.

Spear’s publishes annual rankings of the top private client advisers and service providers to HNWs. These are drawn up on the basis of peer nominations, client feedback, telephone and face-to-face interviews, data supplied by firms, as well as information gathered by the Spear’s editorial and research teams.

You can access the full Spear’s Family Law Index 2022 here.

Kate Stovold shortlisted for two Citywealth Future Leaders Awards

Congratulations to Kate Stovold who has been shortlisted in not just one, but two categories in this year’s Citywealth Future Leaders Awards.

We are delighted that Kate is one of six recommended for the category of “Family Lawyer of the Year – Partner” and one of only four nominated for “Outstanding Individual of the Year”

The awards, now in its seventh year, champion young professionals in the wealth sector and highlight leaders under forty. This recognition programme is run by media company Citywealth, which aims to connect global private wealth management professionals and private client experts. The awards promote a philosophy of supporting future leaders who excel at work but who also make an important contribution to society.

The shortlist is based on submissions, judges’ recommendations and editorial research. There is also an opportunity for clients and peers to support Kate’s nominations by visiting the voting page on the Citywealth website.

Please note that voting closes on 30 September 2022 and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in London on 16 November 2022

                 

LMP dons its trainers again for the London Legal Walk on 28 June 2022

Team members from Levison Meltzer Pigott are excited to be joining the 10,000 walkers signed up to take part in the London Legal Walk.  This is a 10km sponsored walk through Central London.

The aim of the London Legal Walk is to raise funds for South West London Law Centres, these working in partnership with advice services in London to help the poorest and most vulnerable people in the county.

LMP partners Jeremy Levison together with his wife, Kathryn, and Kate Stovold are pleased to be taking part, together with fellow LMP colleagues: Cara Lahnstein, Daniel Green, Sarah Stower and Felicity Cox.

You can support the LMP team as they walk around Central London by donating via the team’s fundraising page.

Jeremy Levison honoured for “Lifetime Achievement” at the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards 2022

Congratulations to LMP founding partner Jeremy Levison, who was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award at last night’s Citywealth Magic Circle Awards dinner.

For over 16 years Citywealth’s Magic Circle Awards have been attracting the leading professionals from the top firms in the wealth management sector, recognising their achievements and celebrating their triumphs in the heart of London.

Jeremy was accompanied at the live event by fellow LMP partner Kate Stovold

                                                          

LMP dons its trainers for the Guildford Legal Walk on 9 May 2022

Levison Meltzer Pigott is one of 37 teams signed up to take part in the Guildford Legal Walk. This 10km sponsored walk through the Surrey countryside will be led this year by His Honour Christopher Critchlow, the High Sheriff of Surrey.

The aim of the Guildford Legal Walk is to raise funds for South West London Law Centres, these working in partnership with advice services in Surrey to help the poorest and most vulnerable people in the county.

LMP partner and local resident Kate Stovold is pleased to be taking part, together with her husband Darren and fellow LMP lawyers Cara Lahnstein and Natasha Methven.

For Kate and the LMP team, the Guildford walk is the warm-up for the later London Legal Walk taking place on 28 June and for which 525 teams have already signed up.

You can support the LMP team as they walk the Surrey countryside by donating via the team’s fundraising page.

NO FAULT DIVORCE: A CHANGE IN THE LANDSCAPE

Partner Kate Stovold and Solicitor Natasha Methven consider the practical consequences of the new rules and today’s introduction of no-fault divorce.

From today, 6 April 2022, there will no longer be a requirement to provide a ‘fact’ (reason) for divorce. Instead, there is a sole requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Parties can apply jointly or separately and there will be no ability to defend the decision to divorce.

(For further information on the abolition of fault in divorce, please see Ending the Blame Game drafted by Cara Lahnstein.)

It is hoped the introduction of no-fault divorce will streamline the process, making it simpler and with less room for delay. Legal jargon has been updated to make the language more user-friendly, so:

  • Petition becomes Application;
  • Petitioner becomes Applicant;
  • Decree Nisi becomes Conditional Order; and
  • Decree Absolute becomes Final Order.

There will be a new minimum overall timeframe of six months (26 weeks) between the start of the proceedings (when the Court issues the Application) and when a Final Order is made. The Applicant(s) can only apply for a Conditional Order after 20 weeks. This ensures there is a period of reflection that offers time for couples to agree the practical arrangements for the future. We can assist with those arrangements, whether financial and/or in relation to the children.

What are the key considerations of the new no-fault based process?

How do you issue your Application?

The introduction of no-fault divorce brings with it a changed Application. On your behalf, we can prepare the paperwork and issue it via the online portal. If one solicitor is going to file the Application for both parties, a paper process must be adopted.

Either way, and as your legal representative, we take away the stress and worry of the paperwork.

There is a Court fee of £593. If the Application is submitted online, ‘Applicant 1’ shall pay the fee.

Will you be issuing alone or jointly with your spouse?

Sole Applicants will not be able to change their application to a joint one, so the decision on whether to apply solely or jointly with the other party must be made from the start. We can discuss these options with you.

 

What if your Application is urgent?

There should be an exceptional reason for the Application to be processed urgently. These reasons should be set out in a covering letter submitted to the Court alongside the Application. We can discuss what may or may not be ‘urgent’ and assist in persuading the Court with a carefully drafted letter.

 

Can you withdraw your Application?

Yes; there is specific paperwork for this purpose to recognise that you may change your mind. A sole Applicant may withdraw at any time before the other party has been served and does so by giving notice in writing to the Court. If a joint Application, the withdrawal must also be joint.

 

How is the Application served on your spouse?

The general rule is that the Court will send the Application to the Respondent, although the option for service via your solicitor is available upon request.

The rules about service are strict and it is important for the smooth running of the process that service is effected quickly and correctly.

 

What if you issue a joint Application and then your spouse later reneges on the process?

Joint Applications can continue as sole Applications at Conditional Order stage. If the Conditional Order has been granted, there is a specific form to be used that enables a sole Applicant to apply for Final Order following a joint Application.

 

Can you claim costs from your spouse in the Application?

There is no longer an option to apply for costs within the new style Application. However, a separation Application for costs can be filed. We can advise about that.

Behind the scenes, the parties can agree how the Court fee of £593 can be funded / divided.

 

Can my spouse still dispute the application?

The ability to challenge a divorce on the basis that the factual grounds are inaccurate no longer exists. You can no longer ‘defend’ a divorce, but it can be ‘disputed’.

Disputed cases arise when:

  • An answer is filed disputing the validity of the marriage (for example, if the parties have not entered into a legally valid marriage);
  • An answer is filed disputing the jurisdiction to entertain proceedings (for example, if neither party lives or has any other connection with England and Wales);
  • The marriage or civil partnership has been dissolved (for example, if the marriage has already been brought to an end in proceedings outside England and Wales); or
  • There is a pending cross-application for divorce.

Disputing an Application requires an offline process about which the team at LMP can advise further, to include ensuring that the timetable is strictly followed.

 

What if my Application for a Conditional or Final Order is urgent?

Urgent Applications for a Conditional Order or Final Order must be made offline on paper and lodged by email. Again, we can assist to ensure that the paperwork is filed correctly and on time. When time is of the essence, we enjoy working with clients to ensure that urgent matters are handled sensitively and expediently.

Whether you are looking to instruct a lawyer to deal with the divorce process for you, or are dealing with it yourself and have any questions regarding the introduction of the new regime, LMP are on hand to assist with your queries.

LMP supports the government’s approach to family justice – avoiding conflict wherever possible and reducing its damaging effect on families, and children in particular.

With enquiries, please contact Kate or Natasha or any member of the LMP team.

(N.B. This article only addresses the impact of the changes on divorce. For questions on judicial separation and nullity proceedings, please contact a member of the LMP team.)

Cryptocurrency on Divorce

Daniel Green explores some of the issues and complexities when cryptocurrency is an asset in a divorce.

Separating couples have plenty to think about when dividing their assets upon divorce. Thoughts of houses, pensions and lump sum pay-outs often spring to mind when thinking about a “divorce settlement”. The Family Court must consider all assets in the marriage before making a Financial Remedy order. At Levison Meltzer Pigott LLP we see assets in all shapes and sizes; pieces of art, fine jewellery, international property portfolios, company shares, luxury cars and much more. However, in this digital age we are seeing a rise in cryptocurrency assets forming part of the marital asset pot.

What is Cryptocurrency?
Most of us will have heard of Bitcoin – the cryptocurrency with the largest market value – and probably wished we had bought some when we first heard about it! But what exactly is it?

Cryptocurrency is in essence a digital asset.

As defined by HMRC, “Cryptoassets (referred to as “tokens” or “cryptocurrency”) are cryptographically secured digital representations of value or contractual rights that can be transferred, stored, or traded electronically.”

They are capable of being bought, sold, and traded online across many platforms. Despite often being referenced as “coins” there is no tangible asset because all cryptocurrencies are held digitally whether in an online account, via a third-party platform, or held on a physical storage device such as a USB. The values of cryptocurrencies are often influenced by the supply and demand of each “coin” unique to that cryptocurrency., Due to the trading of these assets being unregulated by any financial authority, they are susceptible to volatile changes in values not seen in the stock market.

How is Cryptocurrency treated within divorce?
Cryptocurrency is treated like any other asset by the Family Court. Parties must produce full and frank financial disclosure as part of their financial remedy proceedings, inclusive of cryptocurrency, alongside the more traditional assets such as properties, shares, bonds and savings accounts. The fact that cryptocurrency is not mainstream yet, particularly in the divorce arena, is not an excuse to exclude these assets from a divorce settlement.

How do I know if my spouse has any Cryptocurrency?
It is not uncommon for cryptocurrency to be held on third-party trading accounts which may not be obvious to the lay person when reviewing a bank statement. At Levison Meltzer Pigott LLP we work alongside industry leaders in tracing and locating hidden cryptocurrency accounts and online digital “wallets” that are not explicitly disclosed initially.

By way of a helpful tip, the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK are currently Coinbase, Binance, and Etoro.

How is Cryptocurrency divided on divorce?
As with all settlements, the full financial landscape of the parties will be taken into account, including cryptocurrency, as per Section 25(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 . The court can order the payment or transfer or cryptocurrencies by way of a lump sum award. However, it is complex and not without risk. The volatile nature of cryptocurrency can make it more difficult to attribute a fixed value in £ as prices can, and do, change drastically in the space of hours. It is not unheard of for modest investments to make millions in the space of a matter of months and for millions to dissipate to almost nothing overnight – this is known in the crypto-world as “pumping” or “dumping”.

It is therefore important that you take the best advice possible when dealing with cryptocurrency as part of your divorce settlement. Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the LMP team if you have any questions or would like advice regarding cryptocurrency, or any other assets, upon separation from your spouse.

Alternative Dispute Resolution – Kate Stovold writes for Vantage Point

LMP Partner, Kate Stovold, continues to write for Vantage Point, the community magazine in Farnham, Surrey, with a focus in this latest article on the options available to facilitate financial settlements upon separation or divorce.  

Kate recognises that the divorce creates much uncertainty, particularly with an eye to the unravelling of family finances. Clients want to avoid Court, and with it the emotional and financial costs of litigation.  Understanding that there are other options available is often a great relief to clients.

Kate says this: “Once again, I am pleased to share my expertise in my home community and hope that my article provides a helpful summary of the varying options for ADR.  If I can keep clients from the Court door, I will.”

To read the article in full, please follow the link here.

Should you need any advice about finances on divorce, or family matters generally, please contact Kate: [email protected]