‘Divorce is a game played by lawyers’. This line, once uttered by the late Carey Grant, has been repeated by a seemingly infinitesimal number of twitter users in the past few weeks. Why they have chosen it to communicate their frustrations is unclear. What the popularity of this quote makes all too apparent, however, is that many individuals that are either recently divorced or currently embroiled in the process do not hold their representatives in high regard.
When stating that lawyers treat couples’ divorces as a game, they are suggesting that legal professionals fail to recognise the severity of what their client is facing. That they, rather than offering the support needed during this traumatic period, consider to it be an opportunity to test themselves against opposing counsel, emerging victorious only when they have obtained a more ‘favourable’ settlement for their client, irrespective of whether or not it is actually in their best interest.
I’ll admit that the closing portion of the above paragraph may come across as more than a little unusual: is it not always in a client’s best interest for their representative to fight for as much of the matrimonial assets as possible? Well, no, actually. It isn’t.
The division of assets is only one matter that needs to be addressed during a divorce. In my experience, the need to consider the emotional damage that can be done to both of the parties that are embroiled in the divorce is equally important, particularly if they have children.
Unfortunately, though, emotions are something that legal professionals rarely consider – least of all those of an individual that they are not being paid to represent. Yes, some extra assets post-divorce would be beneficial, but enjoying a cordial relationship with your former spouse – something that begins with a fair settlement that meets the needs of both parties – is infinitely more valuable.
Fortunately, a divorce settlement does not have to be achieved by lawyers. In fact, a separating couple can – provided they are able to remain reasonable and dispassionate – agree a suitable settlement amongst themselves. Alternatively, they can enlist the assistance of mediators; individuals who will assist both parties in the production of a fair and suitable settlement. Once an agreement has been reached, then a couple can proceed with an uncontested divorce and either file for divorce unassisted (known as a DIY divorce) or instruct an online divorce company can do it for them. Either way, lawyers are removed from the equation.
The Divorce Blogger writes for Quickie Divorce, the UK's leading online divorce provider.