Third Party Applications During Divorce
Divorce does not always involve only two people. If there are significant business assets, third parties may well have strong interests in any financial settlement reached, resulting in disputes regarding their rights and commercial exposure.
Obtain a Fair Divorce Settlement With RVS Solicitors
RVS Solicitors are a team of smart, business savvy and experienced lawyers. As business owners ourselves, we understand the work and sacrifice undertaken to build a successful company or property portfolio. Any third party with interest in a divorce financial settlement requires expert legal advice to ensure their rights are recognised and protected.
As a 100% digital office, our London-based family law Solicitors offer complete flexibility in how clients wish to deal with us, including providing video conferencing facilities. We are also sensitive to the fact some divorce cases involving corporate entities can attract media attention; we can meet you in a discreet location and manage any questions from the press.
As members of Resolution, we follow a strict Code of Practice in family law and aim to resolve disputes through alternative dispute resolution methods such as round-table negotiation and mediation. However, if a court order is required, we are unafraid to take on any challenge and will tenaciously advance your position.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
What are some examples of third-party interest in divorce proceedings?
Third party interests in a divorce can arise in several scenarios, including:
- A wife whose father claims he is the beneficial owner of shares in a company held in the name of his daughter. She accepts this, but the beneficial ownership is disputed by the husband, who does not want to see his equity in the matrimonial pot diminished.
- The husband’s parents loaned the couple a deposit to buy the matrimonial home and are now claiming a beneficial interest. This interest is disputed by the wife, who claims the deposit was a gift. The parents wish to have the deposit repaid from the sale of the property.
- A silent investor claims to have shares in the family business, and this is disputed by one or both parties.
What is joinder?
Joinder is the process by which a third party is tied to family law proceedings due to rights they claim to have over matrimonial property and/or assets. Failure to recognise such rights or create joinder can lead to separate litigation over a particular matter, leading to unnecessary time and expense.
If one party supports the position of the third party, they need to ensure the third party is joined to proceedings so that any decision binds all parties involved. However, if you are the party denying an alleged Trust exists, it is in your interests to ensure joinder occurs to avoid having the financial order challenged and subsequent litigation occurring.
How does a third party become a party in divorce financial settlement proceedings?
The most common route for a third party Claimant to become a party to proceedings is to be given permission to intervene by the parties. This provides the advantage that no intervention will be made which will restrict the number of parties to the proceedings, and keep time and costs to a minimum. This approach has been endorsed by the Court of Appeal in Gourisaria v Gourisaria  EWCA Civ 1019.
The joinder approach is also a common option as this has the advantage of binding any third parties to the Financial Order.
Alternatively, the third party can choose to launch their own civil proceedings (usually under section 14 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA), and then seek an order that the financial remedy proceedings should be stayed pending the outcome of the civil proceedings or, alternatively, that the two should be tried together.
Our family law Solicitors, led by Rakhi Singal, will advise you of the best option.