Our professional negligence team are often asked, 'can I sue my divorce solicitor?' The simple answer is that a claim can be made against your divorce solicitor if they have made a fundamental error in the way they have handled your case, resulting in you suffering direct financial loss. In this article we look at some of the specific issues that arise when a negligence claim is made against a divorce solicitor.
making a claim against a divorce solicitor
Divorce is unpleasant. Even in amicable divorces there are bound to be arguments as the parties try to reach agreement on dividing the assets, whilst in the most bitter of divorces, each party is strongly motivated to 'beat' their partner, thereby fueling the hostility. Invariably, the parties don’t get everything they want simply because a compromise has to be reached. But sometimes, just sometimes, it is the divorce solicitor who gets it wrong.
It needs to be made clear at the outset that simply because someone does not get all that they wanted, it does not mean that the solicitor has been negligent. For you to sue a divorce solicitor they must have acted in a way that falls below the expected professional standards. Furthermore, their error must have caused you a financial loss.
Divorce negligence case study
Let us give an example. In a case we recently dealt with, the divorce solicitor failed to get a profesional valuation of the husband’s pension. He worked out what he thought the value of the pension pot was and calculated what the wife would receive. A settlement was reached based on his assumptions. However his figures were wrong. His client received less than half of what the solicitor believed she would get. The solicitor's mistake resulted in his client suffering serious financial loss and accordingly a negligence claim was made for compensation.
Mistakes can happen
Against the background of parties fighting over the same assets with escalating legal costs eating in to those assets, pressure is placed on divorce solicitors to keep the costs down. Shortcuts are often taken but this can result in things going terribly wrong once the dust settles.
A divorce solicitor also needs to keep a level head amid all the emotion of a relationship breakdown. It is imperitive that they retain sight of the bigger picture. Failure to do so can lead to errors being made.
Even if a fair settlement has been reached, there is still room for mistakes to arise. For example a negligently drafted settlement agreement can lead to financial loss at a much later stage.
So, can I sue my divorce solicitor?
Having started a new life following a divorce, it will take a brave soul to want to get embroiled in a fresh legal dispute. However, if your finances have suffered as a result of a solicitor's mistake then you may have no option.
We deal with cases on a no win, no fee basis where the value of the claim exceeds £10,000 and are always happy to provide a free preliminary case assessment. If you tell us what your divorce solicitor has done wrong and how much financial loss has been suffered as a result of their mistake then we will review whether it is a case we can help you with.
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