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Divorce Lawyers across the UK are calling for an urgent reform in the Law in order to stop husbands hiding their wealth from their wives upon commencing divorce proceedings — as Britain’s most senior judges prepare to rule in a landmark “cheat’s charter” case.

Local Law firm, Vines Legal based in Chesterfield, has spoken out about existing legislation ‘cheat charters’ which can prevent divorcees from obtaining assets which are held by their former spouses within companies.

The Supreme Court will next week (12 June) make the decision whether oil mogul, Michael Prest, 51, can escape handing over assets totalling more than £17.5m to his ex-wife Yasmin, 50, through his divorce settlement.

In 2011, the High Courts ordered Mr Prest, to pay the settlement to his former wife, of 15 years, however the Judge stated as Mr Prest has avoided previous Court Orders, that he should in the first instance, hand over the assets of his properties to the UK as a part-payment.

The Court of Appeal (CoA) reversed the ruling in October 2012, and Mrs Prest took her case to the Supreme Court.

Divorce lawyers are concerned that the CoA ruling would have a negative impact on wives and effectively create a “cheat’s charter” for wealthy husbands looking to escape their financial obligations to the family.

Solicitor of Vines Legal, Claire Clark expressed “Ministers should be ready to amend this legislation in Parliament if the Supreme Court fails to act when it delivers a verdict. There is widespread concern among family lawyers across the UK about the implications if this loophole isn’t closed”.

Under the current legal interpretation, the reason spouses are not able to access property held in companies is because other investors or creditors might have claims on the assets.

If you are in the situation of filing for a divorce and are concerned about how you will be affected, please call the team at Vines Legal on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 12 Jun 2013, 09:41 AM

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