The break-down of a marriage can be among the hardest things someone will face in their life. Having the support of an experienced lawyer you can trust is crucial. Leading family lawyer Andrew Barton has supported business owners, families with significant wealth and high earners through the divorce process. Here are some questions he is often asked.

How will the court divide our assets?

The division of assets is something that everyone involved, the court included, is geared towards helping the couple agree. Only if the agreement is not possible for any reason is the court ever called upon to make a decision about how finances are divided. The starting point is an equal division of the total wealth built up during the marriage but the appropriate division can depend on a number of factors specific to your case, including how liquid or risk-laden some of the assets are.

I am a business owner, how will it be affected by my divorce?

Business assets can sometimes have a capital value which is taken into account in any asset division. On other occasions the value of a business interest is purely the income it generates. The appropriate treatment of the business will depend on the nature of the business and the interest, the length of the marriage, the other assets in the case and the requirements of the couple involved.

I have inherited wealth, how do I protect it when I divorce?

Inheritance can have a different status to assets that have been built up during the marriage, particularly when it has been kept separate from other joint assets. Its treatment in any divorce will tend to depend on the length of the marriage, the other assets available to you and your spouse and what you each need in the future. We are able to advise on the specific circumstances of your case as needed.

Is there anything I need to think about before separating?

It is always a good idea to take advice before separating. There is often lots that needs to be thought about, but it can sometimes be difficult in the midst of the separation to navigate those issues and ensure that everything is covered. A meeting with a solicitor can help provide clarity. The date you choose to separate can also be critical from a tax perspective, so it is important before separating to know whether that might be an issue for you.

How do I find a good family lawyer?

Recommendations from friends and family are a good place to start. There are also two independent guides to the legal profession which rank lawyers based on feedback from clients and other professional advisors – Chambers and Legal 500 – and these can be a good research tool.


Andrew Barton is a partner in the family team at Stephens Scown. The team has top ranking in both Legal 500 and Chambers UK. Andy specialises in the financial aspects of relationship breakdown, particularly high value and complex financial work. He is recognised as a leader in his field by Chambers UK and is recommended in Legal 500. He is also included in the CityWealth Leaders List, an international guide to private wealth management for ultra high net worth clients. To contact Andy, please call 01392 210700, email or visit