Article from the North East Times

As a firm of family lawyers, we are regularly approached by clients who require assistance with complex and unique issues.  This is where our skills and expertise as specialists in the field come into their own and we are able to draw upon our network of national experts, ranging from forensic accountants to private investigators, from King’s Counsel to international specialist lawyers to assist with the nuances of implementation and enforcement if necessary.  We are dealing with more and more cases that involve intricate international elements and our work in this area is attracting attention from across the UK.

We have decided to share with you a couple of recent cases that were referred onto us for our ability to achieve results in complex situations. They may appear straightforward but specialist advice was essential.

We’ll go to the ends of the earth at Major Family Law.

It is not uncommon for clients to be faced with obstructive ex-spouses who attempt to defeat financial claims on them by placing funds outside England and Wales. All is not lost however. In this ever shrinking e-world and international community, the English courts have powers which are designed to mirror their orders in a wide far reaching way and at Major Family Law we relish such a challenge. We recently worked with a client whose assets had been moved to the four corners of the globe and they were at a loss as to what to do. Our specialist advice was essential as was understanding the differing legal systems in place overseas.  We attained a freezing order but had to ensure that overseas companies were aware of the order – practice direction 6b family procedure rules 2010. Next to the RCJ and the very helpful foreign process service department. It sounds simple?  Far from it, not all countries sign up to the essential Hague service convention, but there are ways and means when you’re in good hands.

You are never at a dead-end…

In life there are two things we can be sure of: Death and taxes. One client felt the death of his ex-spouse had become a taxing issue in itself. He and his wife had divorced many years earlier but they had lost contact with each other when she moved abroad. However, their finances had never resolved and of particular concern was the large but jointly owned house, which could not be sold whilst registered in joint names. When the client learned his ex-wife had died whilst living overseas he came to us to inject some life into the issue and find a solution and some closure so that he could finally start afresh.  Other solicitors had not been able to actually prove that his ex-spouse had passed away, which meant there was no hope of resolution. The first step was to locate a death certificate.  The General Register Office holds records of deaths registered in the UK but where a death abroad has not been registered an application should be made to the Foreign Office.  When the death certificate had not been located, we looked for other evidence of the death, applying to the Probate Registry for copies of Grants of Probate and to the local coroner’s office. Finally, evidence of the ex-wife’s death was attained, forwarded to the Land Registry and the client was at last able to freely deal with the property.

At Major Family Law we are frequently entrusted to take up cases that other family lawyers have shied away from.  We are able to take on complex cases with a commercial or international bias and believe that we go the extra mile to treat clients with the respect, compassion and professionalism they deserve.