The Recession Bites (or does it?)
May 30, 2022
The press is awash with talk of recession.
My mind is cast back to 2009 when the great financial dip caused many people to reveal that the tide had gone out and they did not have their bathing costumes on!
In other words, many people had not prepared for the downturn and were without savings or security to get them through the lean times.
The parable of “The Little Red Hen” comes to mind.
So, how will this threatened downturn impact on families?
My view is perhaps a little more sanguine than some.
Although I am not expecting things to be easy for the next few years – I do not think they are going to be quite as catastrophic as some would have us believe.
My view is that there are quite a few differences between 10 years ago and now.
First, property values appear to be holding up well notwithstanding the threatened downturn. At the end of the day, most families’ main asset is the family home. If that is holding its value – things might be slightly rosier in the garden than we had originally thought.
Second, the way in which families deal with relationship breakdown is perhaps more civilised than it has been. Litigation finance is often available for either the husband or the wife to enable them to pay for their lawyers. They can then pay back the finance at the end of the case.
Third, at long last, there are alternatives to actually taking the case to court. This is called “Alternative Dispute Resolution”:
- The husband and the wife can either see a mediator whose job it is to try and steer the two of them towards a sensible agreement; or
- They can go before a private Judge (normally a barrister or a solicitor of some years’ standing) who can advise them about the sort of settlement that the Court would apply to their case; or
- They can use Arbitration.
To conclude, I think that people are wiser when it comes to lawyers than they were in the past. They realise that lawyers are not only professionals but also business people. The lawyer like every business person, is hoping to make a profit out of his/her services.
There is no doubt that things are going to get tougher. We have simply had it too good for too long. Nonetheless, the way in which clients respond to these new circumstances will be based upon not only the type and extent of their relationship problems but also the modern landscape.
The tools that are now at their disposal should hopefully enable such couples to at least have a reasonable chance of resolving their cases without incurring the same level of costs and aggravation that they might well have done in the past.
John Hooper & Co