$500,000 to Lawyers

$500,000 to Lawyers

January 10, 2018 By Janko Predovic

‘Worst kind of custody dispute’ ends with $500,000 in lawyer fees after a 36-day trial… Good grief! A Judge in Ontario said in a recent judgment:

“We are both reasonable people and I really think we can work this out without spending 40 to 50 thousand dollars a piece in lawyer fees only to have a judge tell us something we could arrange ourselves. Please I’m begging you to be reasonable.”

That was August 8, 2012. An e-mail by a father wanting to see more of his young daughter, written more than a year after separation. Months before this court case started.

Fast forward three and a half years.

“This trial has been financially disastrous for both parties.”

That was February 10, 2016. A concluding statement in the mother’s written costs submissions following a 36 day trial.

The father wound up spending $300,000.00 on lawyers. But he won sole custody. So now he wants a quarter of a million dollars in costs.

The mother says he’s asking for too much and she can’t afford it anyway, because she spent more than $200,000.00 on her own legal fees.

Pause for a moment to consider the overwhelming tragedy of this case. These are nice, average people. Of modest means (now considerably more modest). They drive old cars and probably pinch pennies shopping at Costco. And yet somehow, between them, they spent more than half a million dollars on lawyers “to have a judge tell us something we could arrange ourselves.” The financial ruin cannot be undone. They’ll never recover. Their eight year old daughter’s future has been squandered.

How did this happen? How does this keep happening? What will it take to convince angry parents that nasty and aggressive litigation never turns out well?

Read the full judgment on costs here.

Artist’s rendition: One of the lawyers after this family trial – quite possibly the one who lost the case!

Legal Services provided by Predovic Law Corporation