When celebrity couples split up, the statements they release to the press are usually peppered with cosy-sounding language: they love and respect one another still; no one else is involved, and they’ll continue to be great friends for the sake of their children. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer-songwriter Chris Martin went one better when they revealed their break-up two years ago: they were “consciously uncoupling”. Now it is claimed that Gwyneth is writing a self-help book to navigate the “perfect divorce”.
The 43-year-old actress is said to be keen to pass on the knowledge she gained after separating from Chris Martin, with whom she has two children, and will pay particular attention to looking after yourself.
The impression this gives is that you can get through divorce and separation unsupported. What’s more, you can even DO the divorce yourself – at least according to Gary Lineker. Worth a reputed £200 million, he and his second wife, Daniella Bux, chose to eschew lawyers and opt for a DIY divorce costing just £400 when they went their separate ways in January.
Recently, the footballer-turned TV pundit has hit out at the divorce system, saying it is designed to cost couples a fortune and leads to them “hating each other”.
Interviewed in the Radio Times, he said: “It’s very easy to get married and very difficult to get divorced. And we know lawyers try to manipulate it to make you spend more money and basically end up hating each other.”
Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Lineker perhaps don’t appreciate that their pronouncements can give the wrong impression. A lot of people may read the actress’s new book and think, “see; you can be friends”. And, yes, of course divorce can be amicable – so amicable that you can sort out the paperwork on your own, online, dividing your assets equally and equably. The “conscious uncoupling” can be friendly to the point of going on holiday together with the children and getting chummy with your ex-spouse’s new partner.
What is important to understand is that relations aren’t always sweet, and it can take just one thing for it all to fall apart. A friend told me only recently how his son’s separation from his long-term partner was so amicable they were meeting up regularly. Just a few weeks later, however, the son met someone else – and the friendly separation turned distinctly frosty.
It is best to use a dedicated divorce lawyer to handle the process. Good solicitors diffuse and reduce hostility between divorcing couples in order to make the process as smooth and as stress-free as possible. Not only do we care about the wellbeing of our clients, but as a niche matrimonial law firm we have an excellent reputation to maintain.
You may feel kindly disposed towards your ex in the initial stages of separation, but you cannot be sure that will continue. It is much better for a third party – a qualified, experienced lawyer – to guide you through the process and ensure a clear-cut, civilised final settlement that is fair and just to both parties.