Family’s £1m legal bill in court battle over £245k cottage ownership

Family’s £1m legal bill in court battle over £245k cottage ownership

A family has run up a £1m legal bill in a court battle over the ownership of a £245k cottage. The case began when Pamela Teasdale demanded a divorce from her husband Daniel, who wanted her to leave Burne Farm, Todwick, South Yorkshire, with a lump sum payoff.

What should have been a minor complication in their affairs, the ownership of Cow House, turned into a bitter family dispute.

Both parents were happy for their daughter, Rebecca, to stay in the cottage, which had been renovated from a dilapidated barn. The cottage was eventually awarded to Rebecca, once the remaining £85k mortgage was paid off.

Mrs Teasdale ended up losing the court battle, with her daughter awarded ownership of Cow House once the remaining £85,000 mortgage was paid off.

The judge refused Rebecca’s bid to stop any future livery business being run nearby by her mother because it would disturb their peace. The family’s remaining farmland is valued at £2.5m, but the messy divorce and huge legal costs have put the future of the farm at risk.

The case dragged on for four years and resulted in a total legal bill of £1,048,000. Judge Gordon Shelton said it was a “tragedy” the argument was not amicably settled, and that the ensuing legal battle that “fractured” the farming family was “one of the most regrettable pieces of litigation that I have ever come across”.

The judge ordered that Mrs Teasdale must pay half the legal bill of her husband and daughter, leaving her with fees in excess of £560,000 with more to come.

Mr Teasdale said: “It’s caused so much upset because they were all close… now it’s all gone. I don’t know if I will get to keep the farm. We are all in limbo.”

Mrs Teasdale said: “This is a family matter and I can’t say anything until the conclusion.” Rebecca said the case had left her feeling upset “because this is my mum”.

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