Financial remedy proceedings, if conducted in the wrong way, can lead to enormous wasted expense, as a family court judge warned in a recent case.
The judge said that the case should have been simple, involving just two properties, with a net value of about £730,000.
But it was not simple, primarily because the wife made ‘meritless and misconceived’ claims that the husband had interests in two other properties, and a controlling influence in a restaurant.
And the husband was also at fault, having been found to have been dishonest regarding his role within the restaurant business.
As a result of these things the couple ran up legal costs in excess of £200,000, which was obviously out of all proportion the value of the property in dispute, and seriously reduced the amount available for division between them.
Describing them as “feral, unprincipled and unnecessarily expensive financial remedy proceedings”, the judge said that it had taken him days to read the papers and even more days to write his 200-paragraph judgment.
He concluded the judgment by saying that the proceedings were “a disgraceful example of how financial remedy proceedings should not be conducted.”
Sadly, this case is just the latest in a very long line of similar examples of couples conducting financial remedy proceedings in the wrong way, and thereby running up exorbitant costs.
The lessons to be learned from the case are quite simple: don’t make hopeless claims, and be honest in your evidence. Failing to heed these lessons will simply make the case unnecessarily complex, and therefore much more expensive.
Those extra costs will have to be paid, either out of the pot available for division between the parties, or if just one party is at fault, the court can order them to pay the costs that they have caused the other party to waste.
In short, if you conduct financial remedy proceedings in the right way you are likely to find yourself better off at the end of the case, to say nothing of the time and stress involved.
Of course, an even better solution is to avoid contested court proceedings at all, by agreeing the financial settlement with your (former) spouse.
To ensure that you properly conduct financial remedy proceeding you should follow the advice of an expert family lawyer. We can find you an expert that works with you on our digital platform. For more information, call us on 020 3904 0506, or click here, and fill in the form.
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