Richard Perry, Family Law specialist and qualified Family Mediator shares his views on the comments made by “Divorce Expert” Gary Lineker, who suggested that divorce procedures should all be done by a simple mathematical equation.
Gary Lineker, the ex-footballer turned TV presenter, was somewhat critical of Matrimonial Lawyers, in a recent article for the Radio Times, accusing them of fuelling acrimony, and generally behaving in a manipulative way. He called for what he referred to as a ‘mathematical equation’ in relation to dividing marital assets.
Mr Lineker’s article comes after his most recent divorce from his second wife, which appears to have progressed very amicably, with both parties to the marriage allegedly stating that they expect to remain friends. This may be somewhat different to his first divorce. In his first marriage the parties had married young, had four children during the course of a twenty year marriage, and during that period a significant amount of wealth was accumulated within the marriage.
The difference in Mr Linekar’s own two divorces really answers his own question as to why there cannot be a simple ‘mathematical equation’ to divide material assets within divorce. It really is impossible to have a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
A case where two parties come into a marriage, both having successful and lucrative careers, both having their own private wealth, but then separating and divorcing after a few years, having had no children, and being able to continue with their respective careers, is perhaps a relatively easy matter to resolve. Both parties could retain their wealth, income, and assets, and there would be no need for there to be any provision for dependant children.
Compare that with a scenario where a couple marry at a quite young age and, during the course of the marriage have four children, where the parties agree that the wife will remain at home to raise the children to enable the husband to pursue a lucrative career and allow wealth to accumulate within the marriage. Say parties then separate after twenty years, the husband still having a lucrative career but the wife having no such career to support herself or provide for the dependant children of the family.
In circumstances such as these the primary consideration for the Court would be the well-being of the children and, of course, that should also be the case for the parents. A case such as this would see a significant imbalance in the financial circumstances of the parties at the end of the marriage, somewhat different to the first case scenario.
Having any simple mathematical formula that would be fair in both the above scenarios would perhaps be impossible to formulate.