Divorce ‘pierces’ corporate veil

A family expert at Forbes Solicitors is warning business owners that assets owned by their business may, in certain circumstances, be counted as their personal assets in a divorce case.

The case of Prest involved a Nigerian Oil Tycoon and his English Wife. Mr Prest estimated his wealth to be worth around £48million whilst his wife estimated it was more likely to be ‘tens if not hundreds of millions’ as he controlled several companies.

In the high profile divorce battle The Supreme Court ruled that Mr Prest’s companies did count as his own assets, and therefore should be taken into consideration. Dawn Baker, family solicitor at Forbes comments, “This is a landmark ruling, business men and women cannot deliberately ‘hide’ their assets in companies to protect them in the event of a marriage breakdown. Although assets may be owned by a business rather than an individual this case demonstrates that the Court is, in the appropriate circumstances, willing to ‘pierce’ the corporate veil, in order to get at the assets.”