Earlier this year, we explained the importance of attending court hearings and co-operating with court directions and timetables after reports that Liam Gallagher had been subjected to costs penalties for failure to attend a hearing in the U.S regarding child support for his youngest child, born to Liza Ghorbani.
Press reports today suggest that it is anticipated that even greater penalties will be levied at the next hearing, scheduled to take place shortly after Gallagher has allegedly still failed to co-operate with “discovery” (known in England as disclosure) and is expected to once again refuse to attend court. Lawyers for Ms Ghorbani are reported as seeking a very high level of child support as well as costs orders related to his non-compliance and non-attendance.
In any form of Family Law financial proceedings financial disclosure is crucial, as it is only once the Court knows the full financial circumstances of both parties, that it can make a decision as to what is fair and appropriate. If a party continues to ignore orders for disclosure, then the court can draw inferences and/or base its decision on the information given by the other party. In circumstances such as this, the Court can consider that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the music star can afford any order that the court makes and will therefore be more likely to award a settlement at a high level as request by Ms Ghorbani, other than something more moderate which may have been sought by Mr Gallagher.
In addition to what can, in some circumstances, be an eye-wateringly high order, the court can and will impose additional costs sanctions for failure to abide by orders and to reflect any increase to the other party’s costs as a result of extra work they have had to do, or work that has been wasted.
Court proceedings can be extremely stressful sometimes and it is understandable that people may feel unable to deal with them, however people need to understand that the consequences of failing to engage can make the situation far worse and that it is always better to co-operate with proceedings. Whether or not such measures end up being necessary in the Gallagher/Ghorbani case remains to be seen, but if they are, it is unlikely that Mr Gallagher will receive any sympathy from the court if he then subsequently tries to appeal or alter any orders which are put in place.
Sometimes, it is fear of the unknown, rather than anything else which leads people to struggle to cope with proceedings, along with a worry about not knowing the procedure or what to do. A lot of those questions can fears can easily and quickly be answered by family lawyers, and sometimes, a short meeting can make all the difference. In addition, there is a lot of literature available to help people involved in proceedings understand the process.
Anyone who is currently involved in family law proceedings and is unsure what to do can obtain a copy of our book Family Law Made Simple or speak to one of our Family Lawyers.
Cara Nuttall is a Senior Family and Divorce Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a no obligation initial consultation for any of our family law services. Call freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Merseyside, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Derby and meeting rooms in Hull, Yorkshire and in Bramhall, Cheshire.