Gary Lineker does divorce
In an article published this month, Gary Lineker discusses his recent divorce. Here, family law solicitor Simon Mortimer provides his responses to Gary's top 5 tips for divorce.
Divorce only costs around £400
Not quite. It's true that if Gary and his wife started their divorce early this year the court fee was only £410, but in March this year it went up a whopping 34% to £550 - perhaps the Government heard that too many footballers and TV celebs were doing it on the cheap and thought they could make more money?
Do your divorce through a Government website
Well in fact there isn't such a thing. You still do your divorce through the courts and although there's talk of doing it through a website in future, it hasn't happened yet. Also, when Gary says generally marriage is very easy but divorce is very difficult, some people worry that the proposed website will make divorce too easy.
Get a Consent order
Actually, Gary didn't say this but he probably should have. Getting the divorce means just ending the marriage. Usually the far trickier bit is dividing the assets and sorting out if there's any maintenance to pay. If you can agree this then you should put it in an order made by the court with the consent of both spouses. That way they have certainty knowing what was agreed and that no-one can go back on it except to review the maintenance if it's not a clean break (which it often is nowadays). If Gary didn't get a consent order with a clean break, then he will have to hope that ex-wife Danielle's modelling work keeps coming in, otherwise if her income goes a bit short and he's still the go-to football pundit and crisp seller he could find her asking for a helping hand.
You just need a mathematical equation to divide the assets
This sounds very appealing - just like the Child Maintenance Service, you have a formula which you feed the data in one end and get an answer the other. Well firstly, let's remember the Child Maintenance Service or the Child Support Agency (as it used to be), is already on its third formula in a little over 20 years since it started and none of the formulas has worked smoothly. Secondly the CMS formula is just to sort out the maintenance one parent pays to the other for their children. When you're dividing up family assets and income you have any number of factors to juggle, including the length of the marriage, the parties ages, whether they have children and, if so how many and what sort of school they're in and which parent they live with and has anyone got a disability and is there a family home they own or do they rent it and so on and so on. The possibilities are literally endless. Not even Einstein and Stephen Hawking together could have sorted that formula out, so sorry Gary, even two divorces doesn't qualify you to rewrite the divorce laws.
Divorce lawyers are only in it to line their own pockets
Fair play to Danielle and Gary for sorting out their finances between themselves and staying on good terms: that’s great and they will have saved themselves a lot in costs and stress compared with those couples who really go to war over their divorce. But the vast majority of family lawyers today are committed to trying to resolve matters without all the arguing and the foremost association of UK family lawyers, Resolution, has been promoting this approach for over 30 years. Gary has known footballers who have tried to bite their opponents ears off but he wouldn’t say all footballers are like that and the same goes for family lawyers – there are one or two who give us a bad name but the vast majority are trying their best to get their client’s through a major crisis in their lives in a civilized and positive way so they can re-build their futures and move on.
This article is written in response to Gary’s piece for the Radio Times published w/c 25th April 2016. Gary’s piece is thought provoking and he’s right to ask questions about how divorce is practiced. Here at Burnetts we have a team dedicated to trying to help clients through their divorce or separation with the minimum of confrontation so they can move on and make a fresh start for themselves and their children if they have them. If you have any questions please contact Simon Mortimer on 01228 552222 or any other members of the Family Team here at Burnetts.
About the author
Simon is a partner and leads the Family Law team at Burnetts.