Mercedes has a wealth of expertise in representing high net worth clients in complex financial disputes on divorce and marriage breakdown. She has a particular interest and niche expertise in the rural sector, and regularly advises farmers and landowners about divorce and the family farm.

These cases often involve complex ownership and trusts issues and consideration of third party interests. She looks to work proactively with a range of professionals including accountants, trustees and land agents to achieve a workable practical resolution

She also regularly advises business owners, partners, company directors, and shareholders in private limited companies. Mercedes understands that business clients require clear strategic advice, balanced with compassion and a realistic approach to the costs and risks of litigation.

She recognises that ‘Divorce is stressful, and when it involves the additional complexity of the valuation and liquidity of business interests, it becomes even more so. What client’s really need is pragmatic and commercially focused advice to make informed decisions’.

Experience 

  • Recently acted for a husband farmer who was a partner in a farming partnership with his father and brother. Achieved a negotiated settlement providing for the wife’s short and long term needs whilst preserving the income producing assets for future generations. This required working with the Trustees of the family trust which owned the principal farm house and the other partners in the Farm partnership to meet the wife’s housing needs during the children’s dependency on acceptable terms. Providing the wife with an income and deferred capital to meet her longer term needs, required creative solutions including the transfer of partnership land to the wife with an agreement that she will allow the partnership to continue to farm the land under an FBT with the option to buy back the land upon disposal. Part of the settlement involves a transfer of a parcel of land to the wife with possible development potential. Overage agreements have been negotiated to preserve a share of the uplift value for the partnership and the trust in the event of a sale for development. The settlement has involved consideration of the tax implications of disposal of land and retention of an interest in possession.
  • Acted for the MD of a private limited company in divorce proceedings. Both parties were company directors and shareholders. The valuation of the business was crucial and required expert evidence as to liquidity and particular consideration of the tax consequences. A settlement has been structured to enable the husband to retain the business through a co buy back of the wife’s shares and to ensure the availability of entrepreneurs relief.

Career

Benussi and Co nationally recognised central Birmingham boutique family practice 
MFG Solicitors - Partner and Head of Family Team

Memberships

  • Resolution 
  • Law Society