Long-running trans-Atlantic divorce proceedings ground on last week, when a US court ordered Google to disclose a customer's personal emails. Mr and Mrs Akhmedov seemingly concluded their financial proceedings in London in 2016 when Mrs Akhmedov was awarded a £453milion settlement. She has yet to receive that sum from her husband, however, and the parties' litigation continues. 

Allegations were raised that the parties' son has assisted his father in shielding assets from claims by his mother. While few divorcing parties are awarded a £453milion settlement, I was interested in how the issues raised in the current dispute whereby Google were ordered to release details of the parties' adult son's emails, manifest in lower value litigation.

Resolution lawyers are acutely aware of the danger of drawing the children into their parents' divorce. There can be few family lawyers, though, who haven't had cases where the evidence of adult children can be critical in unravelling the truth of their parents' financial situations. The bank of Mum & Dad regularly assist their offspring in funding their lives and in particular property purchases well into adulthood. Parents will often pay substantial sums to their children to fund a deposit on a property purchase.

The question of whether such transfers were a gift, a loan or a joint investments can become a fractious but critical part of parental divorce litigation many years later. 

It's important that parents (and their adult children) take legal advice at the outset before making such payments to ensure they fully appreciate the transaction, its impact, and are agreed as to the terms.