When compromise fails, waging a war of attrition by litigation can often prove to be a disaster, as a recent Court of Appeal decision has underlined.
After engaging in lengthy litigation over the division of their assets and the care arrangements for their children, a divorced couple, who lived in a £3.2 million home until their divorce in 2008 after 10 years of marriage, were left with just over £90,000 between them.
By the end of a series of legal battles spread over more than five years, the couple had spent nearly £900,000 on legal costs. The culmination of their dispute was that the Court ruled that the payment to the ex-wife of the children’s school fees of £36,000 per year plus the maintenance of £48,000 per year that she receives from her ex-husband were sufficient to meet her ‘reasonable needs’. She was refused permission to appeal that decision.
Lord Justice McFarlane commented that the prolonged and extremely costly litigation had been a catastrophe for the family.