Young Divorce – Lessons to Learn From a Bitter Divorce
The bitter and acrimonious case of Scot Young may not yet be over, despite the High Court ruling in November 2013 that Michelle Young be awarded £20 million.
The judge said that he felt sympathy for the children of the family after 7 years of bitter feuding between the parents had been played out in public. Michelle Young had asked for £6.5 million towards her divorce costs, but the Judge awarded £5 million, saying that Michelle Young had duplicated costs by going to 13 different firms of solicitors, and 4 different accountants who between them dealt with over 65 different court hearings.
Michelle Young alleged that her former husband, Scot Young had tried to hide billions of pounds from her within the divorce proceedings. Mr Young had been jailed for contempt of court for failing to comply with an order that required him to provide personal financial documentation. The judge disagreed with the extent to which Mr Young had covered up his financial arrangements, but did accept that he had tried to hide a lot of assets from his wife.
The judge has ordered Mr Young to pay £20 million to his former wife within 28 days, on the basis that he had some liquid assets in 2008 to pay them. If he breaches the order, Michelle Young will no doubt have to apply back to the court to enforce the order.
The judge criticised both parties, saying “I have to be highly critical of the way in which the case has been conducted at various times by both parties. In many respects, this is about as bad an example of how not to litigate as any I have ever encountered.”
Divorce is always difficult, and emotions run high, and for most people, the sums of money involved in this case are mind boggling. However, the judge criticised both the husband and wife in this case. Mr Young was criticised for attempting to hide the true scale of his wealth, and Mrs Young was criticised for seeing conspiracies everywhere. Vicky Medd, an experienced family solicitor said “It is the job of the family lawyer to help guide clients through the process, and to try and help them concentrate on their future, rather than allowing emotions and a lack of trust to guide them in their decision making now. This hopefully ensures that legal costs are kept to a minimum and that the process is relatively short. The stresses that separating couples undergo as a result of the separation are bad enough, without long, expensive and fraught court proceedings making things worse.”