The Queen’s grandson Peter Phillips is set for a court appearance with his estranged wife Autumn as they attempt to reach a financial settlement over their divorce.
A High Court judge is due to hear from each party’s respective lawyers as they try to separate their finances and agree on a settlement that is in both of their best interests.
Mr Phillips is listed on Companies House as being an event director of Festival of British Eventing Ltd. In addition to this, Mr Phillips is also listed as a director of City Racing Ltd and alternative energy firm Fish Pond Ring Ltd.
As a couple, Mr and Mrs Phillips are directors of SEL UK, a sports and events firm which is a division of an Australian company set up in 2012 by a friend of his father, Captain Mark Phillips, and Pheasant and Partridge Enterprises Ltd.
Mr Phillips has applied for reporting restrictions which bar the disclosure of financial and other personal details.
What is a divorce financial settlement?
A divorce financial settlement is a term used to describe financial proceedings related to a divorce. It is how a couple separates their assets and finances through a final consent order.
Couples who are getting divorced have an obligation to provide a full disclosure of their financial circumstances and must not make any sort of attempt to conceal or dispose of any of their individual assets.
In the first instance, couples will have the opportunity to make a voluntary financial settlement, dividing their assets and finances as they wish. However, if there is an issue over gaining full disclosure of assets, or there is a disagreement over how assets should be divided, it may be necessary for one party to make an application for a financial remedy order, which gives the court the job of resolving the financial issues.
As appears to be the case in the divorce between Mr and Mrs Phillips, if there is still no agreement, the Court will hold a final hearing and a judge will make a final financial order.
What is included in a divorce financial settlement?
Divorce financial settlements tend to focus on what are considered to be matrimonial assets in the first instance. These are financial assets which were acquired during the marriage period and could include:
- The family home
- Stocks and bonds
Non-matrimonial assets (assets acquired before or after the marriage) are treated differently to matrimonial assets. They are not necessarily excluded from the divorce financial settlement and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the judge.
A divorce financial settlement does not see a couple’s assets divided 50/50. This may well be a starting point, but the ultimate aim for a court deciding over a case is to reach a fair and equal split.
What is considered ‘fair and equal’ will depend on a number of different factors, namely:
- The relative needs of each party
- The potential for future earnings
- Child custody
How long does a divorce financial settlement take?
The time it takes to reach a financial settlement is based on the relationship the separating couple has and the complexity of their financial affairs.
A divorce financial settlement will usually be negotiated over the same period as the general divorce proceedings. A typical divorce tends to take around six to eight months, which indicates that it is often possible to reach a financial settlement in the same amount of time.
How are businesses valued in a divorce financial settlement?
Where possible, courts will tend to leave a business owner with their existing share of the business. The other spouse will often be compensated for this by being provided with a larger share of any other assets or ongoing spousal maintenance being included in the divorce financial settlement.
For this to happen, it will usually fall on the individual who owns the business (or has a significant shareholding in the business) to arrange a valuation. Valuing the business will likely depend on:
- The assets it owns
- Its general earnings and predicted earning capacity
- The structure of the business
Get expert advice about a divorce financial settlement
At Devereux & Co, we have a team of specialist divorce financial settlement solicitors who can advise you in relation to financial settlements.
Our expert team will work alongside you to reach a voluntary agreement on separating your finances, as well as providing robust representation if court proceedings are required to achieve a fair division of your assets.