The legal fees racked up during a former Premier League football player’s divorce were “excessive and wholly disproportionate to the issues”, a High Court judge has declared.
The unnamed French athlete and his former wife incurred around £234,000 in legal costs between them over the course of their financial dispute. The footballer owed his solicitors £60,000 while his former wife owed £144,000 to her previous legal team and £30,000 to the firm who represented her in the High Court.
Although he no longer played for an English Premier League club, he earned around £1 million per year at a team abroad. Additionally, the wife accepted that within four or five years it was “unlikely that he will be earning a six or seven figure income”. However, she still claimed she was entitled to £318,000 per year in maintenance to support her and the couple’s only child.
The husband told the Court that he had “no objection to [his former wife] purchasing a home provided that her housing fund was affordable” but he disagreed with the amount of money she claimed she would need.
Mrs Justice Roberts said that it was clear that the standard of living the couple enjoyed during their 19-month marriage was high and that there was “no doubt that these parties spent all (and more) of what [the husband] earnt”. However, as the marriage was short the amount of money they spent had “less resonance or reflection in the standard of living which a former (maintained) spouse is entitled to expect in future” the judge explained. This meant that the wife should expect to live in the same manner she did while she was married.
She ordered the footballer to pay his former wife £164,000 per year in monthly instalments. Of that money, £80,000 should be earmarked to help her pay off her mortgage. Additionally, the judge said he must pay child maintenance of £36,000 per year and pay for his son’s education for the next seven years, when there would be a review of the child’s needs. This meant that the husband was ordered to pay £200,000 each year in total.
Read the full judgment here.