As a result of trying to settle their divorce cheaply, mother-of-two Norma Wilson came out of a long marriage to Dr Peter Wilson, ‘which generated millions of pounds of matrimonial assets, with nothing’, according to her barrister, Brie Stevens-Hoare QC. Norma had been reduced to living in a rented flat surviving on state benefits, the court heard.
Miss Wilson claimed that ‘negligence’ of a solicitor at Herrington & Carmichael LLP was the reason for her vastly reduced circumstances, claiming she was encouraged to ‘take a commercial view’ and save money by settling the divorce by agreement with her estranged husband.
The law firm denied liability and the case has since been settled on a confidential basis.
Meanwhile, the Press has also recently carried the story of two women who say they were ‘duped’ into accepting ‘unfair’ divorce settlements and are appealing to have them overturned in the Supreme Court. Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil both claim their ex-husbands misled judges about how much they were worth.
The lawyer representing both women said courts had turned a ‘blind eye’ to dishonesty in divorce proceedings for too long.
The above stories underline the importance:
• Of recognising that the instruction of a first-rate specialist matrimonial lawyer is an investment in the future
• That the courts do not automatically make the right decision and have to be led to the right outcome
• That the man/woman you married is now seeking an outcome that is likely to be the polar opposite of what is in your interest
• Settling a case ‘on the cheap’ to avoid legal fees is likely to be a false economy in the long run – saving £10,000 now may cost you several £100,000 later. As we all know, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and you get what you pay for.
Choosing a niche practice like Benussi & Co, which is dedicated to matrimonial and child issue cases, is not a cheap option. But our charges are in line with the service we offer to our clients – a service that is second-to-none. We have the full range of expertise and experience necessary to ensure clients achieve the very best divorce settlement possible.
Our instinct is always to go down the route that will service the client best in the long run; never to choose the option that saves a little bit of money along the way.
Our view is the big picture: We want our clients to come to the end of the divorce journey with a financial settlement that will set them up comfortably for the next chapter in their lives. Yes, it’s a service that costs money – but it ensures they are not left counting the cost for the rest of their lives.