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Amy Scollan discusses divorce and luxury assets

  • February 02, 2021
  • By Amy Scollan, Partner

Divorce and Luxury Assets

In the majority of divorce cases, the primary concern of the parties, and the Judge, is ensuring that the parties each have a home and an income to meet their outgoings. In high net worth (HNW) divorces, this concern is often not the focus of the dispute, as housing and income needs can easily be met from the wealth in the marriage. In HNW divorces, the dispute is often around the distribution of the assets which are in excess of the parties’ needs.

Hunters’ Family Team has many years of experience in dealing with HNW divorces and negotiating the distribution of luxury assets such as:

  • Wine collections
  • Art
  • Classic cars
  • Yachts
  • Jewellery.

The distribution of luxury assets between the parties in HNW cases can be the source of much dispute on divorce. Issues we regularly address include:

  • One party to the marriage has a keener interest in luxury assets than the other, yet the other seeks to retain the luxury asset(s) as a way of achieving leverage in the overall negotiation;
  • One party suggesting that a valuable asset be sold in order to provide liquidity, whilst the other has a stronger emotional attachment to the asset and wishes to avoid a sale;
  • Disputed ownership, where one party claims that the asset is owned by, or co-owned with, a friend or family member;
  • Valuation disputes – it can be difficult to value unique items, and the party who is keeping the asset will have an interest in arguing for a lower value and vice versa. Often experts are instructed to provide valuations; and
  • Family heirlooms. One party may argue that an asset which has come to them from their family should not be shared within the divorce proceedings.

Judges can adjudicate disputes about personal and luxury assets, but often the issue is too important, for emotional and financial reasons, for a party to want to risk a Judge deciding it – in case the decision is not favourable. Therefore, the distribution of luxury assets is often decided following a negotiation, which can be lengthy, between the parties’ solicitors, as part of the overall settlement of the case.

If you have any questions or queries about divorce and luxury assets, please contact Partner Amy Scollan on amy.scollan@hunterslaw.com Tel: 07778858670


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