Two husbands withholding information have been jailed in recent divorce cases. David Thursfield, previously head of Ford, went down for 2 years* and Scot Young for 6 months. So failure to cooperate in court proceedings can seriously mess up your life.
You may have clients whose marriages breakdown and where one party or the other wants help in tracking down and valuing the assets of the other one. Alternatively you may find yourself trying to assist a client who would prefer not to make full disclosure.
There will also be tricky situations where you have been acting for both parties to a marriage. It’s then crucially important to avoid breaching any confidences and to only do what you are authorised to do under the terms of your letter of engagement.
Friends of mine run a unique facility called Harmony House – where they help warring couples to resolve their issues and keep the marriage going. It’s open 24/7!
The same friends also run a discreet legal practice supporting one party or another in divorce proceedings. What is special about Penny Raby & Co, besides the fact that the two principals are friends of mine, is their unique combination of skills and expertise:
Mike Gordon FCMA is a forensic accountant and trained mediator. He is also an associate member of Resolution – the specialist family solicitors group and will shortly be receiving one of my INABA awards! Mike’s wife, Penny Raby, is a senior solicitor with over 30 years’ experience. She has a formidable reputation for achieving great divorce deals by firm negotiation. Penny and I ski together each year, as Mike is more of a golf guy.
An accountant like Mike can advise both parties on the disclosure process and clarify the finances which will be looked at by a divorce court. If you don’t have the experience to do this yourself you’re taking a big risk if you try to wing it with divorcing clients. And you’d be in breach of the ethical code. Experienced advisers however will often enable clients to reach a settlement saving thousands of pounds in legal fees and a great deal of time all round. Top advice will also help keep clients out of jail for non-disclosure.
You may be aware that there is a current drive to find alternative means of settling divorce without court proceedings. Mike and Penny offer expertise in examining the finances which will not be available in most mediation procedures.
Yes I know this blog post reads a tad like an advert for my friends. Why not? You can contact Penny and Mike at Harmony House or on 01386 555114 and 07710 418395.
Postscript: Mike tells me that David Thursfield was sentenced to 2 years he hasn’t gone down yet – they haven’t caught him!