Dispensing With Lawyers in Divorce is a Sure Road to Poverty!

Divorce can be an impoverishing experience but a good lawyer can help you to negotiate your way to a brighter future. In one case where that did not happen, the Court of Appeal noted that, after years of legal wrangling, £3.75 million would be barely enough to meet the needs of one former couple and would certainly not afford them lifestyles comparable to those that they enjoyed when they were together.

The husband, once a highly paid investment banker who had dispensed with legal assistance until a late stage in proceedings, suffered from health problems that interrupted his career, although he retained a substantial earning capacity. The wife’s ability to earn a living was far more modest and she was over £600,000 in debt, much of that attributable to the costs of the lengthy divorce proceedings.

The marital assets comprised a complex web of real property, pension funds and share portfolios. A family judge assessed the total family wealth at £3.75 million and divided that roughly 55 per cent to the wife – who bore responsibility as carer for the ex-couple’s children – and 45 per cent to the husband.

The husband challenged that result, but the Court found nothing objectionable in the percentage division. In upholding his appeal in part, however, it made certain adjustments to the judge’s order to ensure fairness to him. The Court noted that, given the level of the ex-couple’s commitments and the wife’s debts, neither of them were likely to find their future lives as easy as they might wish.

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