When a marriage breaks down it can be a very difficult time for the parties involved. This is often compounded by financial disputes, particularly if one or both parties hold shares in a family business or a privately owned company.
At Moore Kingston Smith, we have a wealth of experience providing forensic accounting and expert witness services in the context of matrimonial proceedings, both under party-appointed and single joint expert instructions.
Our expertise in this area centres on valuing businesses and privately owned companies operating across a wide range of industry sectors. These range from small single-location enterprises to large international groups and investment holding companies.
Additionally, our team can provide expert opinion covering:
Our experts have given evidence in the Family Courts on numerous occasions and are highly experienced in dealing with counsel.
We are also familiar with instructions on a ‘shadow expert’ basis to assist a party in its review of a single joint expert report, or on anomalies or inconsistencies in the information supplied by a party on their Form E.
Case study: valuation of a group of companies
We were instructed on a single joint expert basis in a matrimonial dispute addressing the valuation of the respective interests of the parties in several companies, as well as assessing the liquidity of the businesses for the purposes of enabling the respondent to pay a lump sum within the proceedings, and to assess the sustainable future income.
Our work involved understanding the background to each of the companies involved, examining the salient items within the financial statements, analysing trading and profitability trends, analysing the intercompany transactions for valuation purposes, and carefully examining the personal assets that were held within the companies. Both parties were given the opportunity to provide input at the information-gathering phase. During the course of the work, it was also necessary to review an ongoing HMRC enquiry to assess any impact on the valuation and to consider potential consequences of capital gains tax.
Case study: valuation of shares in PR agency
We were jointly instructed by the husband and wife in matrimonial proceedings involving the valuation of an independent specialist food, drink and lifestyle PR agency. Our work involved a detailed financial review of the company, including separate meetings with the parties to understand the nature of the business, and a detailed review of recent third-party offers to acquire the company, before undertaking a valuation calculation. Our report was used as evidence in court, which involved our expert undergoing cross-examination.