What is the most cost effective route to concluding financial matters once the decision to divorce has been made?

The case of Young-v-Young has very much been ‘conducted in the full glare of the media’ and now that it has reached its conclusion, it has once again highlighted the need for parties to take control of their legal expenses during cases and ensure that they are instructing their legal team in a cost effective manner. In the case of Young-v-Young, Moor J commented that the parties had spent ‘truly eye watering’ amounts. Throughout the judgement, Moore J referred to the conduct of the parties which lead to escalating costs for the wife although the husband had represented himself. The husband had misled the court and did not make any reasonable efforts to settle the case and further he had disobeyed court orders which led to his imprisonment for 6 months as a result of his contempt of court. The wife had made some unfounded allegations against the husband and many of her lines of enquiries about his finances had been caused by the husband’s own failure to provide proper financial disclosure. Moor J said that the husband’s failure to comply with court orders and the wife’s tendency to see ‘conspiracy everywhere’ caused her to raise ‘issues completely unfounded’. This is how the costs escalated in the case.

There had been 6 years of litigation between the parties and they had 65 preliminary hearings. The wife had apparently incurred £6.4 million in legal costs and further costs had been incurred on forensic accountants. Moore J described the amounts as ‘completely unacceptable’. However, whilst this case does not represent the ‘norm’, it does raise the issue of parties in such financial proceedings being alert to the issues they are raising and assessing how important certain issues are or are not, to their case and how long it will take to investigate those issues. This is where specialist family law advice is essential. Moor J said that Young-v-Young had been ‘as complicated a financial remedies case as has been dealt with by the courts’.

It is essential that when dealing with or going through such matrimonial financial matters, the parties involved obtain full advice in relation to: a) the options available to them b) the likely legal costs that maybe involved; and c) if the matter does go to court, how the court are likely to deal with their case.

At Prince Evans Solicitors, we always ensure that parties are fully advised as to the alternatives to court proceedings so that you can make a cost and time effective decision as to how you wish to proceed. Not all cases are suitable for mediation or settlement without court intervention, but often cases can be settled without the need to go to court. But if the case is clearly not suitable for settlement without court intervention, then the parties can save the time and the cost of attempting such settlement, by issuing an application for financial remedy at court where a decision will be made by a judge at the end of the process, although there is plenty of opportunity for the parties to reach settlement during the process as well. One therefore must consider whether to issue court proceedings or whether to spend time and cost in negotiating a settlement. Making the right decision can save time and costs. Although the decision is yours, you can only make the right decision once you have the benefit of full and proper advice from a specialist family law solicitor.

For cost effective and full legal advice in relation any matrimonial or children matter, then please contact our Mrs Satvinder Sokhal, who is a very experienced family law solicitor at Prince Evans Solicitors, on 020 8280 2710.