Emotions can run high in divorce cases, but specialist lawyers will help you keep a level head so that the process is as painless as possible. In one case that sadly ran a very different course, a husband who chose to represent himself ended up with his assets frozen and a £290,000 legal costs bill as the price of his unreasonable behaviour.
The husband was a wealthy man but, for more than 15 years after his divorce, had disputed the extent of his liability to pay child maintenance to his ex-wife. Amongst other things, he continued to deny that he was the father of the youngest child of the family despite DNA testing having proved conclusively that he was.
Following much fruitless litigation, his properties, bank accounts and pension fund were frozen and a receiver was appointed in respect of his assets in order to ensure that his ex-wife received everything that was due to her. Commenting on the utter folly of his conduct, the High Court noted that the legal costs he had been ordered to pay came to almost three times the amount of his child maintenance arrears.
Those costs, when added to arrears of just under £114,000, receivership expenses and almost £25,000 that he was obliged to pay towards his younger daughter’s university education, brought his total liability to almost £600,000. The receiver had succeeded in recovering about £400,000 of that sum. Given the futile waste of costs to date, the Court ruled that the husband’s assets should remain frozen up to a value of £300,000 until all the sums due had been paid in full.