Family & Divorce
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Charmaine is regarded as an expert in English Family Law and is one of the few Family Solicitor finance Arbitrators (CIArb) which means she is able to hand down binding judgments in family law money matters.
Charmaine has the benefit of BA (Psychology) and LLB degrees.
Charmaine has been named in the Spear’s 2019 Index, listed as a leading individual in Legal 500 and is individually ranked in Chambers UK. She is the only family solicitor to ever be listed on the ePrivateClient’s 50 Most Influential Solicitors.
She has particular experience and expertise in advising on big-money and big-name divorces. She is able to advise on cross-border money matters and has a particular interest in trusts and pensions. Her practice covers divorce, separation, civil partnerships, pre and post-nuptial agreements, co-habitation agreements, children issues, abductions and international law. She works with the leading Family Law silks.
Charmaine has represented a vast number of public figures including pop stars, actors and actresses, members of parliament, well known sports men and women, TV personalities, entrepreneurs, medical practitioners, bankers, accountants and other clients who require efficient no nonsense financial advice. She makes every endeavour to ensure that she receives no publicity from these representations, in deference to the clients’ need for confidentiality during a period in their lives of emotional and financial turmoil.
She currently leads the family team at Wedlake Bell which she established in November 2011. She previously established and headed a former Legal 500 number one family department in the South East. She is a member of Resolution (formerly Solicitors Family Law Association) where she was one of the first accredited specialists in high net worth financial matters and child abductions. She is a past trustee of Surrey Family Mediation and a former Vice Chairman of the British South African Law Association.
As a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, she is able to guide clients, where appropriate, to a more speedy and cost effective manner of adjudicating matters rather than to resort to the court process which can be protracted, public and extremely stressful.
In March 2015, Charmaine was widely quoted on the Wyatt post-divorce pay out, including: BBC News, the Press Association, Mail online, the Evesham Journal, Stroud Life, the Western Daily Press and the Tewkesbury Admag alongside interviews for BBC Radio Five Live, ITV, BBC, and many other publications.
In April 2016, Charmaine was interviewed by The Divorce Magazine and she discussed family arbitration – Click here to see the full interview.
In March 2017, Charmaine addressed The Law Society of The Northern Provinces in Johannesburg, South Africa incorporating The Gauteng Law Society, Limpopo Law Society, Mpumalanga Law Society and the North west Law Society. The subject was Part 111 provisions of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 English Law and how foreign consent and divorce judgements are dealt with in the courts of England and Wales. The title was ‘Is your foreign court order unfair and can it be set aside in England?’
In October 2018 she addressed the Bev Clark Seminar on Family Law in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Charmaine has a number of reported cases in South Africa and England and Wales.
Charmaine having read a degree in psychology prior to her law degree has a particular interest in the various psychological traits which contribute towards relationship breakdowns:
This is often evidenced by mood swings from feeling extremely high to feeling extremely low. They may never experience periods of “normal” moods.
Borderline Personality Disorder
This disturbing condition is when one experiences extraordinary difficulties in dealing with life regardless of whether it relates to how other people deal with things or how the patient perceives the world. Anger, paranoia and even feelings of suicide are experienced by these patients who have insecure relationships.
It is a tragic feeling of being useless and can include thoughts of suicide. Depression should not be left to smoulder and help should be sought without delay. Clinical depression can become manic depression and may even result in bipolar tendencies.
The Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 116 123.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is usually found in people who lack confidence but display over confidence, lack of empathy for others and the need for attention. This disorder causes unhappiness and disappointment as they think they deserve more and they find their relationships unfulfilling.
This is the general inability to experience feelings of emotion.
This is when a person is conditioned or groomed into believing that his/her perception of reality is without foundation. The retort “you are letting your imagination run away with you” is usually evidence of this. Once an abusive partner has broken down the victim’s ability to trust their own perceptions, the victim is more likely to stay in the abusive relationship. Gaslighting tends to happen very gradually, the abusive partner’s actions may seem like just a harmless misunderstanding at first. Over time, however, these abusive behaviours continue, and a victim can become confused, anxious, isolated and depressed, while losing all sense of what is actually happening. Then, the victim may start relying on the abusive partner more and more to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.
Psychosis and neurosis are subjects which require more than a simple explanation.
Charmaine has a number of reported cases including:
- Richardson v Richardson (2) another (1996) 2FLR617
- Armstrong v Armstrong (2003) 2FLR48
- Re B (removal from jurisdiction) (2003) BWCA Civ1149*
- Re SW v RC (2008) 1FLR1703*
- B v B (Divorce: Anti Suit Injunction)  EWHC 1711
- Tracey v Tracey  2 FLR 480
* These cases were appeal cases which were successfully appealed.
- “Government gets tough on family financial orders”, Law Society Gazette, 17 August 2018.
- “UK: Ex-wife cannot claim increased maintenance to compensate for lost capital”, STEP, 19 July 2018.
- “Supreme Court overturns Court of Appeal’s ruling on spousal maintenance case – Industry reacts”, ePrivateClient, 19 July 2018.
- “Reader’s question re: Non-disclosure of assets”, Financial Times, 14 June 2017 .
- “Divorce for international couples”, Spear’s, 14 February 2017.
- “Divorce season”, Spear’s, 8 September 2016.
- “Ask the expert section: inheritance”, Choice Magazine, 24 June 2016.
- “Asos co-founder sells shares to fund divorce settlement”, Spear’s, 21 June 2016.
- “Widow seeks half of deceased husband’s estate”, Spear’s, 16 May 2016.
- “Answer to ask the expert question”, Choice Magazine, 24 February 2016.
- “Press release re: Data Protection in divorce”, The Times’ Brief, 5 January 2016.
""The ‘hugely experienced and knowledgeable’Charmaine Hast heads the team and is ‘never phased by anything and has seen it all before’." "
— Legal 500, 2018
""She's got a huge amount of experience but she's not afraid to try different things in a case.""
— Chambers UK, 2018
""Commentators describe her as "fantastic with clients and a really good tactician,""
— Chambers UK, 2018
"Charmaine Hast is highly regarded for her ability to handle complex financial litigation, as well as her strength in collaborative proceedings."
— Chambers UK, 2018
"An outstanding practitioner, hard as nails when it counts. Soft as a feather when needed. A great character of the matrimonial legal world. A truly unique person. One of the top flight of matrimonial solicitors bringing a rare degree of commitment, judgment and intellectual acuity to this most demanding area of law. Her clients like her dedication to their causes."
— Richard Todd QC
"Wedlake Bell LLP has a ‘very busy’ practice headed by the ‘indomitable’ Charmaine Hast, who ‘works incredibly hard for her clients and gets excellent results for them – clients such as footballers, captains of industry, and the rich and famous’."
— Legal 500, 2017
Episode 4: English Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
Charmaine Hast is mentioned in the Spear’s 500 index
“Why is London the ‘divorce capital of the world’?” – Charmaine Hast comments for The Financial Times
“Rise of women backing out of divorces as court settlements shrink” – Charmaine Hast comments for The Telegraph
Wedlake Bell’s family team appeared in the list for 2018 as one of eprivateclient’s Top Family Law Firms at their awards evening
UK: Ex-wife cannot claim increased maintenance to compensate for lost capital
Supreme Court overturns Court of Appeal’s ruling on spousal maintenance case – Industry reacts
Charmaine Hast’s comments are published in The Law Society Gazette
Charmaine Hast spoke at the Clarks 5th Annual Family Law Conference 2018 in South Africa