In an extreme case that serves as a bitter warning to divorcing couples that they will be hit hard in the pocket if they refuse to compromise, the High Court has lamented the ‘financial suicide’ of an ex-couple who spent over £860,000, close to a quarter of their combined wealth, on worldwide legal costs.
The husband, a partner in a leading American law firm, and the wife, a successful doctor, had met via an internet dating site and had a son together. However, within two years of their marriage, their relationship was marked by aggressive arguments and violence on both sides. Their divorce became inevitable and they separated when the mother wrongfully removed their son from Singapore, whence they had moved after the marriage, and returned with him to England.
The Court remarked that it was a ‘human tragedy’ that the couple had since spent £860,000 fighting it out in England, Singapore and India over legal issues relating to their son and the division of their wealth. Their total assets were valued at around £4 million and the Court noted: ‘They have already committed nearly one quarter of that wealth to highly charged litigation, and an atmosphere of intense emotion day after day in the courtroom merely serves to underline the tragedy’.
Jayne Davies, a Solicitor at Winchester law firm Shentons, commented ‘It is such a shame when divorcing and separating couples go down this route, particularly when there are now many options available to them for resolving matters through methods of alternative dispute resolution such as Collaborative Law or Mediation. I urge any couple considering separation or divorce to explore these options, which are generally cheaper and quicker and can be much less stressful than the traditional adversarial approach. I would be happy to provide information on these options, free of charge, to anyone who would like to know more.’ Jayne can be contacted on 01962 844544.