Couple unable to maintain lifestyle after incurring £500,000 costs

Lady Justice King has criticised a couple for incurring in excess of £500,000 in legal costs on court proceedings connected with their divorce. As a result of those costs, a judge at an earlier hearing said, there was no way that the couple’s ‘comfortable lifestyle’ could be maintained.

Handing down a judgment in the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice King said:

“This is yet another case where a highly educated couple with young children has engaged in lengthy, destructive and disproportionate legal proceedings. These disputes have continued for over five years with emotionally bruising and expensive litigation in relation to both money and the children of the marriage. The present appeal is a second appeal in the financial remedy proceedings. The costs to date are in excess of £500,000. The only substantial asset in the case, a flat in Panama, has a net value of only £298,377. As a consequence, as the District Judge said in his first instance judgment: “There is no way that the parties’ comfortable lifestyle can be maintained. Much of this has been caused by the intolerable burden of costs”.”

As Lady Justice King indicated, this sort of scenario is all too common, with feuding couples so intent upon seeking what they believe to be ‘justice’ that they lose sight of the costs that they are incurring (for another example, see this post). Often, in financial disputes following divorce those costs can be so high that not enough money is left to provide for the needs of the parties. Sometimes, the costs will even use up all of the assets, leaving the parties with nothing.

So how is such a scenario to be avoided?

Well, there are many ways, including simply keeping a close tab upon how much the costs are, resolving matters by agreement or through mediation, and even doing some of the work yourself, rather than pay for a lawyer to do it for you. If you would like further advice about these and other methods of avoiding excessive legal costs, Family Law Cafe can help. To book a free initial consultation with us click the green button at the top of this page and fill in the form, or call us on 020 3904 0506.

You can read Lady Justice King’s full judgment here.

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Image: Money down the drain, by Images Money, licensed under CC BY 2.0.