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.”
“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.