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When is the right time to divorce?

View profile for Priti Vadgama
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Divorce can be a difficult, stressful and traumatic time and it is therefore arguable that it is never a good time to divorce.

However the recent case of Jenkins v John Collins Partners Solicitors Ltd published on 4th April 2019 illustrates that timing in divorce proceedings may be crucial.

The case involves Huw Jenkins, the former chairman of Swansea City Football club suing his former Solicitors. He says that in 2011 they advised him that his finances were not sufficiently stable to reach a financial settlement with his then wife.

Swansea City Football club then found themselves doing better and were promoted into the premier league which improved Huw’s financial position significantly as his shares in the club soared. When he eventually finalised the settlement with his wife in 2017 he had to pay his wife a lump sum of £2.25 million, transfer assets and make periodical payments.

Huw says his Solicitors should

  1. have been aware that his financial situation was likely to improve;
  2. have advised to start the matrimonial proceedings before his circumstances changed.

John Collins Partners Solicitors Ltd say

  1. that they did not provide advice prior to 2015;
  2. and advice provided was that which a reasonably competent Solicitors would have given;
  3. if the matrimonial proceedings had started in 2011, it would not have resulted in a quicker or lower settlement.

On appeal, Mrs Justice O’Farrell DBE rejected any suggestion the firm misled Huw Jenkins or acted in bad faith, saying it was not incumbent on a party to point out errors in the claim advanced by the other side.

The claim has however been allowed to continue and the outcome is still unknown. The case albeit an interesting one is important whether your divorce involves £2.25 million or a couple of thousand pounds as it illustrates that the outcome/amount payable on settlement may be determined by the timing.

If you are unsure if you want to divorce, when to divorce, what the outcome may be, your options going forward, or you need some general advice please contact one of our family law experts on 01295 270999 (Banbury Office), 01869 252161 (Bicester Office) or 01788 579579 (Rugby Office).

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