Crockett Solicitors

Divorce award lost on legal fees due to irresponsible conduct

It is important to make sure that financial affairs are settled quickly and are informed as the High Court divorce case of MB v EB demonstrates. The wife in this case was extremely wealthy and her husband was a struggling artist. There were no children involved. They had a separation agreement in place which provided the husband with £245,000 so that he could purchase a property and a further £35,000 to live on.

When the time came for divorce, the husband claimed that he required £25,000 a year to live on.

The wife made two offers to him, the first of £300,000 and the second of £236,000, but he failed to respond to these offers and then, a week before the hearing, he proposed that he should receive £1.3million. Mr Justice Cohen described this sum as “about as far wide of the mark as can be imagined.” The Judge did however find that the husband was entitled to a lump sum for maintenance and awarded him £325,000, which would provide him an annual amount of £25,000 for life. He also awarded an additional sum of £10,000 for a car.

By the end of the case both parties had ran up legal costs of £1.25million, with the husband owing half of this, £650,000. He sought an order for his wife to pay all of his costs but Mr Justice Cohen highlighted the “irresponsible and unreasonable” way in which the husband had prolonged what should have been a very easy case to settle.

The Judge capped the wife’s liability for the husband’s legal costs at £150,000, which were the costs that had been accumulated by June 2018 when she offered the sum of £300,000, leaving the husband with an enormous debt of £485,000 which meant that he received nothing after his legal expenses. Furthermore, there was also a shortfall and he was left with a substantial debt to his solicitors.

Crockett & Co. recognise that whether or not you are wealthy, it is essential to reach an agreement over financial matters as soon as possible, and any attempts to delay a case or failure to respond to an offer made by the other party can be detrimental to you. This is why we always act in a timely and professional manner whilst not compromising on what is genuinely in your best interests. Equally, if the other party is being unreasonable then we will make strong representations on your behalf to ensure that the court does not take this kind of behaviour lightly.

Contact us today. We’re here to help.

Crockett Solicitors

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