A High Court judge told a divorcing couple they had committed “financial suicide” after running up legal bills of more than £850,000.
Aloke Ray, 41 and Charoo Sekhri, 39, a lawyer and a doctor who have a combined wealth of around £4 million, married in 2009 and have a two-year-old son.
They met in London but moved to Singapore before separating and have since fought over the country in which their divorce should proceed.
Ruling on the latest stage of their legal battle at a hearing in the Family Division, Mr Justice Holman expressed astonishment that such “highly intelligent, successful professionals” had spent so much on their dispute.
He begged them to resolve their differences and referred to their story as a “tragedy”.
“They have each spent the staggering sum of about £430,000 on worldwide legal costs,” he said.
“The substantial forensic struggle throughout the hearing was painful to observe. These parties are successful and prosperous but they are not multimillionaires.”
He said they had spent around a quarter of their wealth on “highly charged litigation”.
The court heard that the couple, both of whom are of Indian origin, met through an online dating agency in London in December 2008.
They were “already mature people”, the judge said, but “each felt that what they lacked in their lives was a long-term partner or spouse”.
They married in December 2009 and had their son the following year.
However, the arguments flared in 2011 and although their brief marriage had shown “so much promise”, divorce became inevitable.
Dr Sekhri, a paediatric anaesthetist, wanted legal proceedings to be conducted in the UK and issued a divorce petition in London in August 2012.
But Mr Ray, a partner with US-based law firm White & Case, objected and the legal bills mounted.
The court heard Dr Sekhri moved to the UK in her late teens. She worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital and had been hoping to become a consultant at a leading London hospital when her husband was transferred to Singapore.
Mr Ray was born in the UK and raised in Colindale, north west London. He was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities and practised in New York for four years before meeting his wife.
Mr Justice Holman ruled that as both had been legally domiciled in the UK, Dr Sekhri could pursue her claim in England.
He noted that much of their wealth was tied up in property purchased by Mr Ray before the couple married.
Although their marriage had been short, he said their young son was dependent on Dr Sekhri, whose career had suffered as a result of their move to Singapore.
The judge said: “Somewhere, the husband will have to make fair provision for his wife. They would be wiser to concentrate on that rather then arguing about the jurisdiction of the fight.”
SOURCE: The Telegraph