‘Feral, unprincipled and unnecessarily expensive financial remedy proceedings’

Another example of hugely disproportionate legal costs in divorce proceedings; in this case the Judge said that the divorcing couple had a pot of assets worth £730,000 and had racked up legal fees of more than £200,000. 

The legal costs of a divorce and dividing the finances can very much depend on how the divorcing couple approaches the process. A few ways to try to keep legal fees down are:- 

1) Be open, honest and cooperative from the start about your financial circumstances.  Separating couples often reach an agreement much more quickly if there is trust between them in terms of the financial information they are each providing. 

2) Try not to allow your emotions to drive you. Easier said than done, but how people have behaved is often not relevant to how finances should be divided. Trying to punish an ex-spouse through the divorce process usually does not work how people envisage and can end up costing both parties dearly. 

3) Don’t let principles get in the way of making a proportionate, pragmatic decision. Understandably people often feel that the legal process or principles that are applied when dividing finances are unfair. For example, a division might be based on who needs what, rather than who brought what into the marriage. However, if there is little prospect of achieving what you want to achieve, it can be better to make a decision that is proportionate and pragmatic earlier, before significant legal fees have been incurred, even it feels unfair. 

4) Consider whether mediation might work for you. Mediation is almost always more cost effective than going to Court. It usually involves you and your spouse sitting down together with a mediator, but if this feels too much, you can be in separate rooms and/or have your lawyer with you if it would make you feel more comfortable. 

It does take two to tango though, so if one person is not cooperating then both people are likely to be in for a long and expensive process. 

Please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything in more detail, on 01865 521041. 

Wildblood said the dispute ultimately came down to ‘a matrimonial pot of about £730,000’, comprising the value of the two properties in dispute, but that the parties, including the various other respondents who were sued by the wife, had racked up more than £200,000 in costs.