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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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A divorce question: my wife and I are trying to work out a

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A divorce question: my wife and I are trying to work out a financial settlement based on division of marital assets. My wife is a shareholder in a French company (an SMI), and has been since it was founded 2007 (well before our marriage ended), and which is the owner of the property in which her mother lives. My wife, her mother and sister hold about a third of the shares each. The property is worth in total EUR 600000. The understanding between the mother and daughters is that the mother will live in the property until the end of her life (she is 81).
Are the courts likely to regard this sort of holding as a marital asset? I would rather not have a holding in the company, but I might ask to offset the value of this company against the value of my pensions - which we definitely are dividing.

Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:
-How old are you both?
-How long have you been married?
-Do you have any children together, if so their ages and proposed arrangements?
-What other assets and pensions do you both have (both sole and joint), together with values?
-What are your respective incomes?
-What is the value of the company , and what is her involvement in the company?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am 55 and my wife is 53.
We were married for 24 years (married October 1989, split up October 2013).
Two adult children - aged 24 and 18. I have said I will make provision for their accommodation (but this is informal - 2013 to now they have lived with their mother).
Proceeds from house sale £380000 (joint), flat in Paris, about £240,000 (joint)(to be sold). My pensions about £150,000 transfer-out value. Her pensions about £20,000.
My income about £72,000 gross - hers currently zero.
Company as mentioned owns EUR 600000 flat - she is a director and share-holder (one-third of issued shares). Company's sole purpose is to hold property in order to reduce French inheritance tax.

Thank you for confirming. Given the long marriage and her interest in the company for inheritance purposes it will be difficult for her to attempt to ring-fence her share of the company - however, this will likely require complex valuation as part of the divorce and you are correct in stating that you could use her interest in the property as a way of offsetting this against the other assets you have listed.

In relation to the wider assets, you will both need to provide each other with full and frank financial and income disclosure, as well as disclosure of your reasonable needs. The Court's starting point is a 50-50 split of all matrimonial assets and ensuring that both your needs are met in relation to both assets and income. The criteria considered is:

1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
7. The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;
8. In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

If you have any further questions regarding this please let me know. In the meantime if you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you

Hi, this question remains open. If you found my information provided helpful please could you rate my response positively using the stars at the top of this page as I will not be credited for my response without a positive rating.

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