When UHNW couple decide to divorce, the safety of their children becomes the absolute priority

Date: 23 Sep 2015

Bumblebee Design

Amanda McAlister, head of family law at Slater and Gordon, says UHNW families takes extraordinary security measures to protect privacy of their children.

What are the issues around child safety in UHNW families? 

Child safety issues are a major concern for all UHNW couples. For instance, where I live in Cheshire, there is a high concentration of UHNW individuals and I see the lengths these families go to protect their children, such as carefully vetting the people they hire or being exceptionally secretive about their personal habits or travel plans.

There are also fears and concerns around protecting their children from photographers who may sell images to the media or simply use them on social media. The recent case of David and Victoria Beckham’s daughter, Harper, who is four years old, being pictured using a dummy is an example of how a single image can cause private family matters to become part of a wider media speculation and public controversy affecting the family negatively.

What dangers do children face in case of UHNW divorce?

When an UHNW couple decide to divorce, the safety of their children becomes the absolute priority, especially if one or both spouses are international.  Whenever I am involved in cases with parties from different jurisdictions we will seek undertakings from all involved not to leave the country. This is especially important if one or both individuals are from a non-Hague convention country where there is more risk of children being taken out of the reach of English law.

Do pre-nup agreements help to protect children?

Yes, pre-nups and post-nups do assist spouses if their relationships come to an end as it means they have largely already dealt with the division of their finances. This can mean breakups are usually more amicable, which in turn means that arrangements for children are often easier to resolve as parties are not disputing their finances. Keeping children out of adult disputes is clearly beneficial for everyone concerned.