The True Cost of Litigation in Divorce

When a marriage breaks down it is devastating and trying to unravel years of joint financial interests and access arrangements for children can be difficult. Although many couples manage to split amicably, the process of divorce, which can be adversarial by its nature, can cause even bigger rifts and lead to huge disagreements.

These disagreements do need to be settled though and often they end up in court. This is what happened in a recent case where a couple were at the High Court fighting over assets of £6 million where they have already accrued a legal bill of over £1 million and are still some way off settlement.

The judge in this case, Mr Justice Holman has repeatedly told both Mr Fields, an American lawyer, and his fifth wife, Ms Parfenova, to settle the claim to avoid this being settled through litigation at a very high cost, both financially and emotionally. He repeated at the closing of the case after a week of evidence, that he felt the message of settlement being better than litigation never gets through to individual couples.

In another case, another high court judge was told that a couple had already accrued over £3 million in legal costs over their divorce, which has been rumbling on for at least two years, with £13,000 being spent on the latest round of litigation.

There are many reasons, apart from the sheet cost, that demonstrate that litigation is not the answer in divorce. Where there are children involved in the marriage, they cannot possibly come out of the process of litigation unscathed.

In fact, the divorce will almost certainly affect them anyway, but making sure the impact is lessened by making the process as amicable as you can will help to soften the blow.

Trying to reach agreement can be facilitated and you do not have to go it alone. Mediation is being used successfully in many divorce cases, so agreements can be reached with impartial, third party involvement without the need to resort to litigation. Ground will need to be given, however compromise has to be a better option than giving away a sixth of what you own to a solicitor to fight in court over the rest, doesn’t it?

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitors before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitors
0207 183 2898

What is the Court of Protection?

 

The Court of Protection is used in England and Wales to have jurisdiction over the financial affairs and wellbeing of anyone who lacks capacity. The Court of Protection was introduced when the Mental Capacity Act was brought into statute in 2005.

The Court of Protection’s remit encompasses a large number of issues that are faced by individuals who lack capacity and their carers and family members. Where an individual has not put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place and they lack capacity, their proposed deputy will have to apply to the Court of Protection to seek permission to handle their affairs, both financial and with regard to decisions about their care.

In addition, the Court of Protection is there to deal with any issues that arise with the people who are given permission to act for people who lack capacity or where there are serious situations that arise for those individuals and their deputies could not be expected to make such decisions.

In one case, the Court of Protection ruled that although two sisters were given LPA powers by their mother, they were unable to act in her best interests as they could not communicate effectively and were at odds with each other, leaving them unable to act in her best interests because of their hostility towards each other.

In another landmark ruling, the Court of Protection allowed a woman to be sterilised after her sixth child. Her IQ was 70 and the judge ruled that another birth would be ‘life threatening for both her and her child’.  In this case the woman, who has no contact with any of her six children, gave birth to two of her children at home in unhygienic conditions and during another of her pregnancies suggested that she had become pregnant from a tablet she purchased from a health food shop. This judgment proved controversial but remains unchallenged.

The Court of Protection should be a last resort though, as it can be a lengthy and costly process and the court may appoint less powers than those given in an LPA, so thought should be given to this option at the earliest opportunity.

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitors before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitors
0207 183 2898

Freephone 0800 Numbers

Finally Ofcom has put pressure on mobile phone providers and can no longer charge disgusting exhorbitant fees to you as a caller from a mobile AND us as the provider of the 0800 number to use what is supposed to be a FREEphone number.

From 01 July 2015 calling our freephone 0800 073 73 76 number will be free of charge whether you ring from a landline or a mobile.

As far as we are concerned, this is long overdue and about time too.

Better late than never.

Click here for more details of this change from the ofcom site