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Managing costs in complex children cases

Date:4 MAY 2021

In November 2020 Spice Girl Mel B was in the news despairing about how the legal costs of trying to relocate her daughter Madison from the US to England were likely to bankrupt her leading to her withdrawing her relocation application. The figure of $500 000 quoted included legal fees of $400 000 and $100 000 in accounting fees.

Mel B and Stephen Belafonte divorced in 2017 and have joint custody of Madison. The singer moved back to the UK in 2019 with her two other children half-sisters of Madison to take part in a Spice Girls tour. Most recently Mr Belafonte filed an application for full custody of Madison alleging Mel B has all but abandoned her and restricting visitation to the US. The case is ongoing.

In England custody orders residence and contact orders have been replaced with Child Arrangement Orders referred to as “live with” and “spend time” with orders reflecting that each parent has a pivotal role to play in a child’s upbringing. The increase in joint live with orders sometimes referred to as shared care orders ...

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