Ex-footballer (and, more lately, presenter of Match of the Day and the star of various crisps adverts), Gary Lineker, has recently spoken about his divorce and offered his views on reforming the process.
He has commented that divorce lawyers often stoke up the fire in an attempt to boost their own fees and has also suggested that the process could be simplified to involve a mathematical equation to resolve financial matters on divorce.
While Gary is of course entitled to his own views, the comment regarding lawyers stoking fires to drive fees is not reflective of the profession as a whole. Most divorce lawyers are not out to make money from the circumstances of their clients’ relationships. In my experience, the vast majority join the profession to assist those who need help with resolving (often complex) circumstances at a time when people can be hurting from the breakdown of the relationship and, as a result, find it difficult to make informed decisions.
The decisions which are made at the breakdown of a marriage are often some of the biggest life decisions to be made, certainly in terms of the impact of those decisions on the future. Having legal advice and support at this challenging time can and does prove invaluable to many.
All solicitors in the Family Department at Taylor Walton are members of Resolution, a body of family lawyers committed to a non-confrontational and constructive approach to family law (www.resolution.org.uk). Members of Resolution are focused on achieving resolutions to family disputes in the fairest and least disruptive way possible, including by encouraging clients to put the best interests of any children first, to avoid the use of inflammatory language and to take into account the long term consequences of decisions and actions.
Reaching agreements through mediation or direct discussions between the parties or their solicitors will often be a quicker (and cheaper) way of resolving matters than taking the matter to Court and good divorce lawyers recognise this.
Mr Lineker’s suggestion for reform involving a mathematical equation is not quite as simple as it may first appear, and is unlikely to suit everyone’s personal circumstances. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to simplify all divorces and the circumstances of married couples to fit into one equation. One of the major advantages of the law in this country on divorce, is that it affords the flexibility for the Court to make the most appropriate decision based upon the circumstances of each individual case.
Whilst the thought of a simplified approach will appeal to many, it would likely produce a raft of unfair outcomes.