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FIRST DIVORCE INSURANCE; NOW DIVORCE LITIGATION FINANCING

On November 1, I blogged on divorce insurance, which provides benefits to people when they divorce. Now, we have lending for attorneys fees to pursue a divorce. The New York Times, the ABA Journal, and others are reporting on a new Beverly Hills lender that offers money for attorneys fees in divorce in exchange for a percentage of the take after the divorce. The company is called Balance Point and is run by Stacey Napp, a lawyer who created the company after struggling for many years with her own divorce. Balance Point caters primarily to females in cases where the marital estate is between $2 million and $15 million in net worth.

Attorneys fees to pursue divorce is a real problem in most states and certainly in Mississippi. If one spouse, (typically the man), controls the money, he can use his superior financial power to “out lawyer” the other spouse and force capitulation and perhaps settlement on unfair terms. Mississippi law seems to allow for the award of attorneys fees on a temporary basis, but few, if any, Judges allow such awards. Many Judges may feel that since they have no power to divide property until there is a divorce that they cannot make an award of attorneys fees to a spouse before the divorce. I have long espoused the belief that Judges should take control of cases early and determine the issues and their legitimacy, and perhaps award fees to the non-moneyed spouse to make sure they have equal representation. Without such temporary awards, financing of attorneys fees would certainly provide relief, but not many people would meet the Beverly Hills criteria of Balance Point.