Supreme Court confirms that disputes over finances between divorcing spouses end if one of them dies and looks to parliament for reform

Lucy Hoare reviews the recent judgment of Unger and another (in substitution for Hasan) (Appellants) v Ul-Hasan (deceased) and another (Respondents), and what it means for family law

A Supreme Court judgment handed down on the 28th June has unanimously dismissed the appeal bought by the “wife” in pursuing a financial claim against her deceased husband’s estate.

The claim, Unger and another (in substitution for Hasan) (Appellants) v Ul-Hasan (deceased) and another (Respondents), follows on from actions which started in 2017 when the wife Nafisa Hasan brought proceedings under Part III MFPA 1984 to obtain a financial remedy following an overseas divorce from her husband, Mahmud Ul-Hasan.  It was the wife’s case that during the marriage the parties had accumulated significant wealth.

The couple were married in 1981 with the husband obtaining a divorce in 2012 in Pakistan. On the wife’s application under the 1984 Act, the court in England and Wales was empowered to make any of the orders which it could make under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (“the 1973 Act”) if a decree of divorce had been granted in England and Wales. Various hearings were subsequently held, but Mahmud died in January 2021 before any adjudication was made. However, the wife sought to continue with the claim for financial relief but now against the husband’s estate.

In the High Court, Mostyn J considered that the historic case law and in particular the decision of the Court of Appeal in Sugden v Sugden (1957) was in this case binding and although he considered the authority incorrect, he felt he had to dismiss the wife’s claim against the estate of the husband. Otherwise, he would have backed the wife and the legitimacy of her claim under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. Mostyn J did, however, grant a “leapfrog” certificate which allowed the wife to appeal directly from the High Court to the Supreme Court. Before this appeal was heard, the wife had also died.

There were two issues before the Supreme Court and this recent decision:

– whether the rights under the 1984 Act read with the 1973 Act, were personal rights which could only be adjudicated between living parties so that, on the death of the husband, the wife could not pursue her claim for financial relief against the husband’s estate; and

– whether a claim for financial relief under the 1984 Act is a cause of action which survives against the estate of a deceased spouse under section 1(1) of the 1934 Act.

In a unanimous dismissal, the five judges of the Supreme Court confirmed that financial claims between divorcing spouses and civil partners must end if one of them dies.  The right to and obligations of financial relief are personal and cannot be pursued against the estate of the deceased spouse.  A claim cannot be pursued after the death of one of the parties, this being, in their view, what Parliament must have intended.

The position, therefore, remains the same.  The death of a party to a financial remedy claim will bring an end to the proceedings.  However, what makes it a landmark ruling for family law is that the judgment effectively highlights the outdated status of current legislation applied to cases upon divorce and that today’s principles surrounding matrimonial property and family relationships had little historic resonance when most of the current divorce laws were determined. It acknowledged that there was indeed a defect in the law which Mostyn J’s judgment had exposed, and that reform is needed to address the limited ability to make financial orders after the death of either party to the marriage. However, in disappointing the hope of Mostyn J that his decision would be overturned on appeal, the Supreme Court emphasised the fact that the task of reform is not for the courts but has to be a matter for parliament.  Yet another example of the law which needs to be brought in line with society and families today.

Clearly in any case where these issues arise specialist advice is needed.  If you would like to discuss making a financial claim upon divorce, do not hesitate to contact any member of the LMP team.

The impact of the Spring Budget on separating couples

Now the dust has settled, family law specialist Lucy Hoare recaps on the key changes set to benefit private individuals following last week’s Budget.

 

CGT window extended

 

As announced by Parliament last summer, last week’s Budget has confirmed that the government will legislate in the Spring Finance Bill 2023 to makes changes to the rules that apply to the transfers of assets between spouses and civil partners who are in the process of separating. The changes will take effect for disposals made on or after April 6, 2023. The changes mean that married couples and civil partners will have up to three tax years to transfer assets such as property, shares or business interests between them, before incurring CGT.

 

Couples and their advisers have currently been working with the ‘no gain, no loss’ window of the expiration of the tax year in which the parties separate to avoid CGT when transferring assets. These new measures will greatly benefit those spouses who are separating/divorcing and are in the process of distributing assets between themselves.  It will particularly benefit those parties involved in more complex proceedings, allowing greater focus on the divorce (as opposed to tax considerations) when agreeing the division of wealth. These changes will no doubt mean that some decisions are being delayed so that couples can benefit.

 

Parties can benefit from these changes if the transfer of assets are detailed in a court order, so it is important to seek legal advice.  Where tax issues arise alongside divorce and separation, we can work alongside trusted tax advisors to advise you on the best way forward.

 

Pension and Divorce

 

Another perhaps more surprising Budget announcement which has relevance for past and future financial settlements is the removal of the current pension lifetime allowance (LTA), as well as an increase in the amount that can be saved into pensions tax-free each year, this rising from £40,000 to £60,000.

 

The measure is intended to encourage people to keep working later in life.  However, it may have an unforeseen impact on divorce negotiations as the value of larger pensions may now be dramatically increased.  Subsequently a party to a divorce who previously might not have been so concerned about proposing a share over a large pension because of the LTA, may now be more incentivised to retain these assets.  The latter new measures also give divorced parties who have shared their pension a greater chance to recover their pension value before retirement.

 

Due to these changes, where pension shares have already been agreed but not yet implemented a revised calculation may be required, particularly in cases where a pension offset is required. Negotiations involving pensions of significant worth are complex and we work alongside actuaries and financial advisors to ensure clients are best placed to make the right decisions.

 

If you have any questions about the implications of the recent Budget on your divorce or separation then Lucy or any member of the LMP team shall be pleased to assist.

Not knowing your rights on separation – a recipe for disaster?

Natasha Methven, prompted by the recent media speculation on Heston Blumenthal’s separation from Stephanie Gouveia, and whether they were in fact legally married, explores the very limited claims the unmarried cohabitee has in the event the relationship comes to an end.

I was interested to read the latest press reports suggesting that Heston Blumenthal, British celebrity chef, has split from his partner, Stephanie Gouveia, and the speculation as to whether Blumenthal and Gouveia were ever married, after a wedding ceremony in the Maldives. This is a debate which echoes the discussions surrounding Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall’s own Hindu wedding ceremony in Bali in the 1990s.

Hall was said to be blindsided when she began divorce proceedings and Jagger announced the ceremony had not been official. Similarly, Gouveia has allegedly said that her marriage to Blumenthal was not recognised by legal authorities and therefore “does not constitute a marriage in a legally binding sense.”

To complicate matters further, and if the press reports are to be believed, Blumenthal announced last week that he plans to officially marry his new partner, Melanie Ceysson.

If legally married, and should that marriage later end in divorce, Blumenthal and Ceysson’s claims, subject to the terms of a Prenuptial agreement (that I would recommend!), would be settled with reference to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, including in respect of capital and income, pensions and maintenance.

By comparison, Gouveia’s claims as a former unmarried cohabitee are treated very differently.

So, what does it mean if you are not legally married?

There is a myth that if you are living together, you are entitled to the same rights on separation as legal spouses. This is a common misconception, often referred to as “the myth of the common law spouse.” The reality is that unmarried cohabitees are treated entirely separately to married couples upon relationship breakdown.

If Gouveia was not married to Blumenthal, she should take advice to understand the limited scope of her financial claims as an unmarried cohabitee.

So, what claims do unmarried cohabitees have?

With claims being limited, property is a key consideration. If you have a legal interest in your family home (i.e. you are a joint legal owner with this being reflected on the title deeds), your rights are recognised. However, if you do not have a legal interest, the burden is on you to prove you have acquired an interest in the property. You will have to demonstrate that the Court should look beyond what the deeds say and construct an interest in the property on a beneficial basis.

There are three ways a beneficial interest can arise:

1. Resulting Trust

  • Direct financial contribution to the purchase of the property registered solely in your partner’s name; and
  • Evidence of the payment.

 

2. Constructive Trust

  • An agreement, understanding, or promise between you and your partner as to the ownership of the property, this to be express or implied; and
  • Evidence you acted to your disadvantage or altered your position because of the agreement.

 

3.  Proprietary Estoppel (a claim to enforce a broken promise)

You must prove:

  • That a representation or assurance has been made to you by your partner that you have an interest in the property;
  • That you relied on this promise; and
  • That you suffered a detriment as a result of that reliance.

 

If there are children of the relationship, you can also consider provision under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, albeit as financial support for the children rather than for you directly. This, however, goes beyond the scope of this article.

LMP can assist with the preparation of cohabitation agreements, and advise on your rights (both legal and equitable) as an unmarried cohabitee. If you are not legally married, and would like to discuss your rights as an unmarried cohabitee, please contact me, Natasha Methven, or any member of the LMP team.

Exploring Mediation in Family Mediation Week

Kate Stovold highlights the process, its advantages and use.

In my ten years of practice, I have witnessed an increasing popularity in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and rightly so. Court, in my view, is the last resort. I am therefore pleased to engage with and support campaigns such as Family Mediation Week (16 – 20 January 2023). It is also a great pleasure and privilege to have completed my training as an all-issues mediator with Resolution.

For me, it is refreshing when a client openly expresses a wish to avoid Court. There is an opportunity to be seized and I think it falls to lawyers to signpost their clients appropriately. It is well-documented that Court applications face delays, last-minute cancellations, unreliable judicial continuity etc. If, through mediation, parties can strike while the iron is hot, every effort must follow to facilitate the referral and expediently.

Mediation is voluntary with the onus on participants to commit to the process and the opportunity it presents for collaborative problem solving without apportionment of blame. If the participants engage with an open mind, an ability to listen and hear each other, and a willingness to resolve their issues, it should be beneficial. Open and honest dialogue promotes improved communication and provides a future-focussed resolution, particularly with the safety net of the confidential nature of the process (subject to safeguarding concerns) throughout which the mediator must remain neutral as to outcome.

That open engagement should be enhanced by the knowledge that mediation is conducted without prejudice to legal proceedings. With the exception of financial disclosure, the detail of the conversations cannot be disclosed. Hopefully, that widens the scope for negotiation and compromise.

The ultimate authority in mediation rests with the participants; an opportunity for them to retain ownership of the process and, most importantly, the decisions being made about their family. It is my experience that clients, when committing to financial or child arrangements, are more likely to honour them in the long term if the decision was theirs at the outset. Mediation, as a process, promotes empowerment – letting the participants know that they can take control of the decision-making. The hope is a win-win outcome reflecting compromise and flexibility.

It will be helpful for participants to know that the mediator must act even-handedly and impartially. Acting fairly and with integrity is also important, with mechanisms in place to ensure confidentiality. That provides a safe space for constructive dialogue.

Participants to mediation have a right to seek independent legal advice, and that must be explained to them. Appointing a solicitor is a personal choice and just as a client should feel comfortable in the mediation process, so they should feel comfortable with their solicitor. On all fronts, a client should feel understood and confident that their objectives are understood.

Knowing that multiple issues can be discussed and decided in mediation is likely to attract more couples to the process. That multifaceted approach allows participants to resolve all issues arising upon relationship breakdown. As child arrangements impact on financial arrangements and vice versa, that serves to enhance the effectiveness of the process. The individuality of the family unit is respected.

If mediating child arrangements, families will benefit if they prioritise the needs of the children and, where age appropriate, their wishes and feelings. That a child aged 10 or older can meet with the mediator, subject to safeguards and the mediator being qualified to see the child, may enhance the family’s experience.

On separation, it is not uncommon for parents to worry about its impact on the child(ren). Where parents wish to minimise that impact, and agree this as a priority, that can form part of the mediation agenda.

It is that agenda, in broader terms, that affords participants a bespoke service and one that is tailored to their specific requirements: seeking to reduce conflict, ensuring continued stability for children, financial arrangements or prioritising emotional health.   Hence the importance of the individual meetings, an information gathering exercise at the outset of the process, during which the meditator will learn the participant’s priorities and objectives and identify any concerns.

To discuss any family law matter with Kate, please contact her via email ([email protected]) or telephone (07917 015631).

The rights of cohabiting partners; more movement but still a myth

Ben Stowe comments on the most recent call to update the law to reflect modern relationships but warns, if marriage is not for you and your partner, you might want to consider other options to avoid unnecessary pain.

Earlier this month, the Women and Equalities Committee authored a report on The Rights of cohabiting partners;  the Government was given two months to respond. Cohabitation is the fastest growing family type in England and Wales with around 3.6 million cohabiting couples in the UK in 2021, which is over double that recorded twenty-five years before.

The main thrust of the report is to highlight the lack of legal protection for cohabiting couples, which means in the event of a family breakdown, women in particular can suffer relationship-generated disadvantage. Not for the first time in recent years, it is a call for the law to be adapted to reflect the social reality of modern relationships while still recognising the social and religious status of marriage. The report invites reform on how cohabitants are treated with regards to inheritance and pensions in the event of a partner dying; currently cohabitants do not automatically inherit from their partner. The report is also emphatic in the continued need to dispel the ‘common law marriage myth’ with a recommendation that the Government launch a public awareness campaign to inform people of the legal distinctions between getting married, forming a civil partnership and living together as cohabiting partners. In other words, there is still a need to stamp out the erroneous belief that if you live with someone for a number years, you have the same rights as a married couple. You don’t!

It is perhaps this last recommendation to launch an awareness campaign that drops the heavy hint that in reality, any reform is unlikely to be swift and that there is a governmental duty of care that cohabiting couples need to be aware that unless they are proactive in terms of putting in place other measures to cover assets enjoyed as a family, the end of a relationship, whether by intent or by death, could be very messy indeed.

There are a number of legal measures cohabiting couples could consider to underpin their relationship and protect individual rights and expectations. Consideration for each other in terms of up-to-date wills to reflect your wishes in the event that one of you dies and how you legally hold any joint property, are two basic steps to consider in order to look after each other. One of the areas of family law that can help is a  Cohabitation Agreement. This is particularly relevant for couples with more complex family structures such as those involving businesses, significant assets in the form of trusts or international assets, or indeed for those with the wish to provide for children from previous marriage(s). While it may feel unromantic to discuss the ending of a relationship when you are still at the beginning, experience has shown that a degree of planning at the start can save a great deal of heartache if, for whatever reason, the relationship has to end.

If you are co-habiting and would like to discuss having a cohabitation agreement, please contact me, Ben Stowe, or any member of the LMP team.

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.

Did you pop the question over the festive period? Is a prenup on your planning list?

Solicitors Joe Colley and Natasha Methven share their thoughts on the importance of a Prenup and why it should be included as an integral part of ‘wedmin’.

January can be an exciting time for couples who became engaged over the festive season. Loved-up couples can endure the dark winter months by focusing on the preparations for their wedding, with excitement levels increasing as they do. As well as choosing what to wear, which cake to pick and where to get married, couples are best advised to consider a prenup.

Traditionally, prenups had a reputation for being unromantic and only for the super-wealthy. This has now changed however, and prenups should be viewed in the same way as making a will or taking financial advice.  They represent prudent long-term planning. Prenups offer financial security and peace of mind for those entering marriage, signed in contemplation of a long, happy future together.

Prenups can incorporate a variety of agreements, to include what should happen to the family finances in the event of separation and/or divorce.  These helpful documents can regulate, for example:

  • the protection of pre-marital assets (assets brought into the marriage);
  • the determination of marital assets and how they should be divided;
  • the exclusion of an expected inheritance;
  • ownership of business assets, income and liabilities;
  • how debts should be treated and who should pay for them; and
  • the ring-fencing of assets for children from a previous relationship.

The legal status of prenups makes them complex.  In summary, for a prenup to be given due consideration by the court it must be:

  • entered into freely without duress or misrepresentation;
  • signed on the dotted line by way of a deed and include a statement of truth;
  • made in advance of your wedding, ideally at least 28 days before;
  • signed following the exchange of financial disclosure and receipt of independent legal advice; and
  • actively careful not to prejudice the welfare of any minor child of the marriage (who will be a paramount consideration for the court).

The Law Commission published a report in 2014 recommending that qualifying nuptial agreements (QNAs) be introduced in England and Wales. These would be enforceable contracts, enabling couples to make binding arrangements governing the financial consequences of divorce.  As it stands, the Government’s final response is still awaited. In the meantime, we at LMP see an increasing rise in couples opting for a prenup, and sensibly so.

It is essential to take legal advice in this complicated area that is by no means as straightforward as choosing your cake! The team at LMP are family law specialists who can provide you with sensitive support and guidance in the lead up to your big day.

Should you have any enquiries about prenups or if you would like to organise this element of your ‘wedmin’, please contact any member of the LMP team.

Finances on Divorce – 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 financial consequences of divorce.

Kate recognises that the divorce creates much uncertainty, particularly with an eye to the unravelling of family finances. Clients are often concerned about what they might receive and what they will need to pay.

Kate says this: “Once again, I am pleased to share my expertise in my home community and hope that my article provides support to families in need. I hope that my whistle-stop tour identifies important headlines and stresses the value of specialist advice.”

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]

Kate Stovold – on Women in Law panel for her former school

On 23 November, LMP Partner Kate Stovold joined a panel of women to speak about her career in Family Law. Hosted by Woldingham School, where Kate studied for her GCSEs, the virtual event saw the meeting of successful lawyers working in the US, Hong Kong and London. Each woman shared the story of their journey from leaving school to present day providing careers advice and tips along the way. Following introductions, students had the opportunity to ask questions.

Speaking after the event, Kate notes:

“Growing up, I didn’t know anybody working in the law. I had no contacts; no connections. I had to create opportunities for myself, whether making endless applications for Training Contracts, pushing firms for work experience or thinking outside the box to enhance my CV.

That I am now in a position to give back gives me great pleasure. Whether speaking at an event like the one hosted by Woldingham, meeting a student to chat through their CV or offering work experience, each opportunity makes a difference to a young and aspirational lawyer.

Whilst increasingly difficult to remember my school days, I am confident that had this opportunity been presented to me, I would have grabbed it with both hands!”

Kate is looking forward to supporting future events at Woldingham School and hopes for in-person networking on the next occasion.