Judge decries ‘inexplicable’ costs in care dispute

Family Law | 19 Jun 2015 0

A Family Court judge has expressed “great sadness” at the extremely high legal costs incurred by an Italian father of a three year-old girl.

The father who lives and works in England somehow racked up legal costs of £106,718 in a dispute with his daughter’s mother about where their child should live.

Mrs Justice Theis, who heard the case at the Family Court in Medway, said that the father’s costs were “over 7 times the mother’s [and] equate to the sum of over £17,500 per month since the proceedings started”.

The judge said that such a difference between the two parties’ legal costs was “wholly staggering” and “inexplicable”. She added that “frankly incomprehensible that this level of legal costs have been incurred in a case that, although finely balanced was not complex”.

The girl’s mother was born in France and met the father in England. They soon began a relationship and moved in together. During this time, they had a daughter, identified in the judgment as ‘C’. The relationship ended in 2013.

Although C was only three years-old, the judge noted that she was “a well travelled child” who had been abroad “no less than 18 times”. Many of trips were to Montpellier in the south of France to visit the mother’s family. The mother began a new relationship in the city and wanted to move there with C.

Despite the father’s fear that that the mother’s real plan was to move in with her new boyfriend, who “will become the father figure for C” in his place, Mrs Justice Theis ruled that it was in the girl’s best interests to move to France with her mother. She said this was because C would “closer to her wider maternal family and her mother will feel more secure and less isolated”. The judge added that the father’s fear was “understandable”, but “not justified” based on the evidence.

To read J v P (Leave to Remove to France) in full, click here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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