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
0207 183 2898


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