The Daily Express today reports on developments in court before Mr Justice Moor from evidence given by a paparazzi photographer in which, it is alleged, Mr Young made an offer of £27 million to his wife to settle her financial claims. Mr Young is alleged to have described his estranged wife as a “greedy cow” when she refused the offer.
Regular watchers of the divorce courts will be familiar with this case. Mrs Young has always maintained that her husband is worth hundreds of millions of pounds, but has reportedly been left living in a bedsit, relying on food hand-outs and charity shops. In the meantime Mr Young has stated that he is now penniless, but was jailed for 3 months earlier this year for contempt of court as a result of his refusal to reveal details of his financial position.
In an often contentious and acrimonious area of the law (and indeed life), the Youngs must surely rank at the most extreme end of this scale. They are, however, not alone. Not so very long ago a court criticised another divorcing couple for running up huge legal bills in their divorce which drastically changed the couple’s financial resources.
The Young case highlights the lengths that some people are prepared to go to in order to try and protect their assets and retain as much as possible for themselves when they split from their husband or wife. Mr Young’s recent incarceration highlights the powers available to the court when faced with such recalcitrance.
So what lessons can be learned from such a case? I think there are many but, perhaps most importantly, anyone going through a divorce should take advice at an early stage so that they can understand the entitlements that they, and their spouse will have in a Relationship Breakdown, as well as understanding the risks and pitfalls that may stand in the way of trying to make life as difficult as possible for the other side.
Like the vast majority of legal disputes, it is important to retain an air of commerciality when settling a financial dispute in divorce. Inevitably there is a deal to be done and business acumen will dictate the strategies to be employed in negotiations. Our experienced Family Law team at Slater and Gordon recognise that no two divorce cases are the same and each will depend on a unique set of circumstances and dynamics. We can provide advice tailored to your specific needs at any stage of the divorce process but recommend that you seek advice sooner rather than later.
By Family Law Solicitor Ed Kitchen.