Interveners and Third Party Claims on Divorce

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When couples divide assets as part of financial proceedings on divorce, others may lay a claim to or have a vested interest in parts of these assets. If one of the parties challenges that interest, then the third party may be required to intervene in the proceedings. Third parties can include parents, business partners and trustees among others. Our team of family lawyers has considerable experience of third party intervener cases and the difficulties which can arise. Intervener cases are unique, fact specific and often involve highly charged emotions. It is essential that the correct strategy is adopted from the outset in these cases, which is something our team prides itself on getting absolutely right.

We have expertise in protecting a wide range of third party interests both when a party actively seeks to join a case (so that they may assert their interest in a particular asset, such as a business or property) and also when they are the subject of an application by one party, to be joined to the litigation. We have the necessary knowledge and understanding to act tactically and effectively when interveners join proceedings in their own right, attend as a witness for husband or wife, or play no active part during the case.

We are experts in recognising and navigating the particular issues which effect intervener cases such as:

  • Third party disclosure orders;
  • Representing companies;
  • Trust arrangements, including those offshore;
  • Wider family issues;
  • Setting aside transactions;
  • Inheritance and succession planning; and
  • ‘Matrimonial’ and ‘non-matrimonial’ assets.

We provide a full and well-rounded service, not just legal and tactical guidance. Our team has forged strong relationships with a diverse range of expert professionals (such as forensic accountants, offshore specialists, financial professionals, trust specialists and property and chancery counsel) both in the UK and abroad. We also involve and draw upon the expertise from other teams in our firm whenever needed, with the objective of working together seamlessly to provide knowledge and advice to our clients.

We focus upon our client’s best interests from the outset and encourage good tactical decisions to be made early on, to help third parties avoid being drawn into proceedings, whenever possible. If a third party becomes involved in family litigation then we have the ability, knowledge and understanding of the way in which these disputes play out and are contested. Our team therefore has extensive litigation experience, contacts and the all-important instinct which makes us uniquely placed to recognise and understand the issues and strategy required to defend and contest intervener cases.

Our experience

Some examples of our team's experience in third party intervener cases include:

  • Representing the parents and sister of a husband (living internationally) within financial remedy proceedings. The wife had issued proceedings to set aside a transfer of international funds by the husband to his mother and his sister, shortly after the parties separated. Our clients’ position was that those funds were owned beneficially by them, despite being legally held by the husband who was managing the fund on their behalf. There were a number of issues that arose that warranted careful and strategic legal advice. There were considerable risks to our clients in joining the proceedings and a creative approach to the litigation was required. We manage to settle the matter on behalf of our three clients outside of the court process, which limited their financial exposure and the inevitable strain upon them all.
  • Acting for Jersey trustees in defending an application to join the financial proceedings upon divorce; we were successful in providing disclosure in a limited form and avoided the need to be joined or to face significant disclosure obligations from the court
  • Acting on behalf of the wife’s mother and father in proceedings where the husband sought to have them joined as parties, alleging that the wife had transferred assets to them to defeat his claims, and that her parents were financial resources to her.  We assisted our clients in taking early action to demonstrate the beneficial ownership of the assets in question, which avoided their joinder and led to the husband withdrawing his claims that their properties should be factored into the court’s award.  
  • 25 day high court hearing representing four interveners (the husband’s mother, his two sisters and a connected company), in a high net worth divorce involving the instruction of numerous experts from this country and abroad (Iran and Dubai). We successfully argued that a number of properties belonged to our clients and not to the husband (as the wife asserted) and obtained a very significant costs order in their favour.
  • Acting on behalf of the husband’s father, who was trustee of a number of valuable discretionary family trusts, of which the husband and children of the family were within the class of discretionary beneficiaries. Taking decisive and tactical early action which prevented him from being joined to the litigation and protected the trust interests.
  • Representing a wife in a long-running case involving substantial assets in Russia, France and trusts assets in the Cayman Islands. We successfully made applications to set aside transactions executed by the husband to his friend, who was joined to the proceedings as an interested party, following his claimed ownership of a matrimonial property. Our role involved substantial engagement with the Jersey-based trustees as well as overseas lawyers and the instruction of both property and chancery counsel.
  • Acting for the husband in litigation where one of the most valuable assets (which needed to be sold) was owned by a Trust company, who became a represented party in the case.
  • Successfully representing the wife in a high value farming divorce where the husband’s father was joined to the proceedings due to the husband’s position that all the assets were held and controlled by his father and that there were no assets available to meet our client’s future needs.  


Further information

If you require further information or advice from our team of specialist family lawyers relating to interveners and third party claims on divorce, please contact a member of our team or call us on +44 (0)20 7814 1200. Alternatively, click here to get started online and find out where you stand.

"Kingsley Napley "has a very strong family department," say market insiders, who recognise the team's strength in advising high net worth clients on an array of family law matters."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2019

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"All have been excellent and have shown great diligence and practicality, along with sensitivity during a very difficult time in my life"


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