Within the role of my job in the matrimonial department, one of my main duties is to advise clients (and keep them updated) as to their costs, and in doing so I am obliged to explain to clients that sometimes it is not wise pursuing certain issues, simply for the reason that they cannot afford the legal fees to do so. Or rather it is not 'worth' pursuing in light of the costs.
But what is the value of 'worth' to someone who is going through a divorce? This changes from person to person, and the idea that something is not worth arguing for from a financial or emotional perspective is often extremely difficult for my clients to hear. With two people contesting a point you will find two sides to the story, and somewhere in the middle of these two sides we find the truth!
When spouses find it difficult to agree on things there is a danger of going down the 'tit for tat' type of correspondence. Clients feel that they have to respond to each and every point, which can sometimes only cause things to escalate and further polarise the parties. I regularly have to explain to my clients that sometimes it is best to just let things go and concentrate on the central issues - and by central issues I mean the legal issues that need to be sorted and not who keeps the crockery!
Too many times I hear 'it’s the principle of it'. Whilst I will always listen to my clients and consider what they say, ultimately one of the most constructive things I can try to do for my clients is to keep their costs in check.
This may appear to be a cold-hearted approach to a very difficult and emotional time for separating couples, but it is important that clients appreciate that when faced with an issue of principle, is it actually the principle that matters most to them, or the money?
It might seem difficult to swallow at the time, but I act in the hope that my practical approach towards avoiding unnecessary legal fees is more greatly appreciated by my clients in the long run.
To discuss the matters raised in this article or to request further information please contact me on Zoe Porter.