It’s been a dizzying year for Debbie Chism, whose clients have included everyone from European royalty to pop stars, all the way through to ‘dynastic family wealth and overnight billionaires in the tech sector’.
In addition to acting for the former wife of His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Luxembourg, Chism has also acted for the wife in XW v XH 2017 EWFC 76 (and XW v XH (No.2) (Reporting Restrictions Order)  EWFC 44). In this instance, the wife received one of the highest recorded English divorce awards.
The case dealt with issues around special contribution, privacy and whether foreign marital contracts should be treated as prenuptial agreements. One of the primary focuses was also the husband’s ‘special contribution’ alongside the wife’s own exceptional care for the parties’ son with special needs.
After a two-week final hearing, in his Judgment, it was noted by Baker J that: ‘The legal complexities in this case are on a scale not often encountered even in the field of so-called big money cases… the efforts which have been expended on behalf of these parties are on any view exceptional… both the quality and the quantity of the work… has been outstanding.’ With over 20 years of advising HNWs, Chism has built a formidable reputation covering all aspects of family law, including complex asset valuation, business interests, trusts and wealth protection structures.
As Chism explains, ‘My clients are looking for settlement on excellent terms. The primary source of my work remains based on word of mouth recommendation – not only from former clients but also peers, professional intermediaries and, pleasingly, from spouses of those “against” whom I have acted.’
Chism celebrated her 10th year at Stewarts in 2019, where she has been a key cog of the department’s meteoric rise into the family law A-list. ‘We strive to resolve family disputes first and foremost – but if that cannot (for whatever reason) be achieved, Stewarts has the best litigators in the business to back up our negotiation skills,’ she beams.
Commentators are effusive about Chism, with one praising her ‘truly excellent inspiring client care, solid legal analysis and unstuffy approach steeped in commercial reality,’ while another testimonial says: ‘If you have a difficult divorce, there is nobody better in London than her. She’s clear and strategic.’
Asked to describe herself, Chism responds: ‘I am disarmingly honest and relentlessly positive – and my peers believe I am a constructive person to do business with.’