Fast track celebrity divorces set ‘unrealistic’ expectations, Law Society claims

Monopoly housesSpeedy celebrity divorces like the recent separation of Nigella Lawson and  Charles Saatchi are unrealistic for most couples, the Law Society has warned.

The Lawson-Saatchi fast track split was “highly unusual” and largely made possible by the couple’s independent wealth, the Society claims. Rightly or wrongly, it does appear  that neither of the former couple made financial claims against the other, and the undefended divorce reached the decree nisi stage earlier this week. Barring unforeseen developments, the couple’s marriage will be officially dissolved in September when the courts issue a decree absolute.

Although it is not necessary for a financial settlement to be in place before a divorce is completed, couples are often reluctant to finalise the split beforehand and this can cause delay. Most couples need to go through the potentially complex process of dividing their mutually owned assets, in addition to to the divorce.

Law Society President Nick Fluck.said that while the process of getting a divorce is usually relatively straightforward, the division of assets and responsibilities can be time-consuming.

“What is generally much more complex is sorting out the practical issues such as where each person will live, who gets what, and arrangements for any children. A family law solicitor will advise about your rights and the options available to you. They will also explain some of the financial complexities and will help identify the issues that the court will consider and, crucially, give you tactical advice.”

He advised couples to be very cautious of superficially low cost alternatives to legal action like divorce websites. Without an understanding of the law, these could cost couples more in the long run than they seem to save.

“An online managed divorce is certainly not suitable in cases where there is an imbalance of power between the parties, or if one or both of them are being difficult or withholding information.”

He added:

“Seeking legal advice from a solicitor will often save you time and money in the long run.”

The Law Society represents solicitors in England and Wales.

Photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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3 comments

steve - August 2, 2013 at 4:28pm

“Seeking legal advice from a solicitor will often save you time and money in the long run”……. what planet does this man live on?

Tulsa Divorce Lawyer Matt Ingham - August 2, 2013 at 5:31pm

Here in Tulsa, USA most divorces are a fairly lengthy process (several months) and in fact we even have a rule that if the divorce involves minor children, the mother and father have to wait at least 90 days before the courts allow the divorce to be finalized. The rule exists for the obvious reason that local lawmakers believe the children need time (90 days or longer) to make the adjustment from living in one marital house to now living in two different single houses.

Children aside, a divorce is not a process that ought to be rushed both for reasons related to emotional health of the divorcing couple and for reasons related to the assettle health of the couple.

DT - August 4, 2013 at 1:54pm

Steve

Your views do not represent those of the majority.

DT

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