Case Study – Litigation Funding for High-Value Divorce
A high value divorce case, where one party actively looks to frustrate the attempts by the other party to gain an equitable share of the matrimonial assets by cutting off their funds, is exactly the type of case that third party funding was designed for.
Mr & Mrs ‘A’ were married in the 1990s and over 14 years, from small beginnings, Mr A developed a very successful business comprising shareholdings in property companies and real estate. During that time Mrs A ran the family home raising four children, two of whom were from Mr A’s first marriage, one of whom had learning difficulties.
As their 14 year marriage started to breakdown, without the knowledge of Mrs A, Mr A started moving their considerable shared assets into the names of his two now grown up children and companies they owned. The motivation behind this was solely to hide assets from Mrs A when the division of assets was examined at the end of the marriage. When the marriage break up actually occurred, Mr A then deliberately withdrew funding to Mrs A, who had no other income source of her own. She was then severely restricted in her ability to obtain the considerable legal support she now needed for the forthcoming divorce proceedings. Eventually Mrs A was forced to commence financial relief proceedings.
Mrs A appointed a high street solicitor to support her in the divorce case, meaning she was totally outmatched by the calibre of Mr A’s legal representation and the resources he had at his disposal and in the early stages of negotiations, he offered Mrs A £400,000 to ’go-away’. This represented a tiny proportion of their shared assets and in no way reflected Mrs A’s contribution to the marriage and the raising of the four children.
Mrs A was in a ‘catch-22’ position where she needed significant resources to instruct the calibre of firm needed to effectively challenge Mr A in the divorce proceedings. This is when she came to Woodsford to try and find a solution. Litigation funders, including Woodsford, are naturally wary of investing in high-value divorce cases as the emotions of the parties involved can often lead to irrational behaviour, whereas funders take a dispassionate and objective view of the merits of a case, including the likelihood of a reasonable settlement.
Having met Mrs A and reviewed the merits of the case, we were convinced that not only did she have a strong case but that she was a reasonable and level-headed individual who wanted a fair and reasonable settlement as quickly as possible so that she could ‘move on with her life’. Woodsford was able to support Mrs A with the funding she needed to allow a prominent city law firm to be appointed and a leading counsel to represent Mrs A. At the conclusion of the case Mr A finally settled with a payment of £4.5 million, over a tenfold increase from his original offer. This allowed Mrs A to walk away from the marriage with an equitable division of assets and confidently start the next chapter in her life.
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