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The divorce games

The Insider on… what happens when business clients divorce. 

Over the past couple of weeks we have had two new lots of clients begin divorce proceedings, and we have been stuck in the middle! 

Last week I literally had to stand in-between a rowing husband and wife and make them both calm down. We were meant to be discussing financial settlement of assets, avoiding the lawyers in an attempt to a) save money, and b) speed things up. 

Over the past few years, since the downturn I think, we have seen more and more clients get divorced – mainly the more well-off ones. Some who have lost money since the downturn, and some who have made money. Both have ended up with the same result however; divorce. 

One case has rumbled one for the best part of four years, and to be honest the only winner to date are the two firms of lawyers involved in the wrangling. 

The most recent couple have made their millions in the past three years, and since that time the writing has been on the wall. I’m not saying money was the cause of the divorce, but having more money than you know what to do with has certainly speeded up the inevitable. 

Our firm has also gained from the clients misfortunes, we have been heavily involved in the financial aspects of the divorce cases, writing reports, carrying out valuations, and more often than not playing agony Aunt to both parties. 

The most recent case of clients getting divorced has seen one client Company turn into two new client Companies as husband and wife both look to make their next fortune on their own. And what is slightly surprising is that both husband and wife have chosen to retain the services of our firm for their new businesses. I’m not complaining of course, but I do wonder how long it will last before one asks me about the other. I’m we are not careful we could end up losing both as clients. 

It could prove a challenge for our practice to retain both clients in the long term, but we will be equally professional with both parties and work in their long term interests. Which ultimately can only be a good thing for our firm too. 

The Insider - a partner in a successful accountancy firm – shares their thoughts on some of the more unusual challenges faced by their firm.

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