A top divorce lawyer at Manchester-based family law firm Vardags has spoken out following Gary Lineker’s comments about divorce lawyers.
Former England footballer and Match of the Day presenter Lineker – recently divorced from his second wife Danielle Bux – said lawyers try to manipulate the divorce process to make people spend more money and consequently create “hate” between parties involved.
He also called for the process of divorce settlements to be simplified to a ‘mathematical equation’ after Lineker and Miss Bux used a government website to formalise their split and save on legal fees.
Charlie Bell, a senior lawyer at Vardags which has an office on the eighth floor of the Grade II Listed Ship Canal House on King Street, said ‘it’s the system, rather than we as lawyers, which encourages animosity between separating couples’.
“To an extent, it is the system which makes it difficult for couples to split, amicably or otherwise.
“A mathematical formula, as suggested by Gary Lineker, would give clarity to the general public as to the financial consequences of divorcing. However, it is difficult to imagine how such a ‘one size fits all’ approach can produce an outcome that is fair in every case.”
Charlie, who has acted for and against heirs and heiresses, tycoons, international footballers, celebrities and royalty in big-ticket financial and associated divorce cases, said there probably isn’t a perfect system, but there ‘has to be a better one’.
“As a family lawyer, possibly surprisingly, I don’t necessarily disagree with the majority of Gary Lineker’s comments,” said Charlie.
“I’m not 100% on board with the ‘evil money grabbing lawyers’ rhetoric. But it is true that many people come out of a divorce feeling bitter about the process, the cost and their former spouse.”
He added: “The Matrimonial Causes Act, which governs the distribution of assets upon divorce, received royal assent in 1973, 43 years ago.
“The judiciary have, to some extent, endeavoured to move the law forwards to reflect the times that we now live in. However, without reform by the legislature, there is a limit to how much change can be enacted.”
London-headquartered Vardags is continuing to bolster its local presence in the north west after opening a 1,384 sq ft office in Ship Canal House on King Street earlier this year.
In Gary Lineker’s recent interview with the Radio Times, he also said ‘it’s very easy to get married and very difficult to get divorced’.
Charlie added: “There needs to be greater clarity in relation to the laws which govern the distribution of financial resources upon divorce.
The possible range of outcomes in any given case can be vast, depending on which judge hears a case (and their mood on that particular day).”