Between them, former Simmons & Simmons associate Anna Kavanagh and her ex-husband, Holman Fenwick Willan partner Giles Kavanagh, spent almost everything they owned on a bitter dispute over the custody of their children – a story reported widely in September.
Yesterday Anna told her side of the story to The Sunday Times (£). It made for fascinating reading…
She explained how she:
1. Now lives in a “modest rented house” because, having lost her £3.2m home, “I can’t get a mortgage”.
2. Has come to doubt her judgement, and even her ability as a lawyer, following the battle. “Obviously it looks like I lack credibility because I’ve allowed myself to go through this whole system, spend a fortune in legal fees and end up with a very poor outcome,” Kavanagh told the paper. “You know…what does that say for my abilities as a lawyer?…Clearly it does raise all sorts of questions.”
3. Found representing herself in court as a litigant-in-person – which she was forced to do after her money ran out – as “awful” and “intimidating” despite being “no wallflower”.
4. Has come to view barristers as “ruthless” and willing to “do anything to undermine you, to make you flustered, to make you lose your temper”.
Traumatised by her hellish experience, Kavanagh wants to see the divorce process changed to feature more counsellors and psychologists, and less lawyers. And who best to lead this revolution than an ex-City lawyer fallen upon hard times?
Currently scratching a living together through part-time legal work, Kavanagh says she hasn’t “exactly had people beating down my door to hire me” since the very public outcome of her divorce. But she reckons others “can only benefit from my awful experience” and is keen to “take a central role in instigating public debate about family court reform and mediation”.