Following the comments made by former footballer Gary Lineker about the complexity of divorce proceedings, Ayesha Vardag wrote of how the English legal systems results in acrimonious and expensive proceedings.
Ayesha highlighted that the reluctance to embrace “no-fault” divorce shows that “the system is designed to be difficult. If you want to get a divorce, our legislation is built to make you suffer“. Rather than lawyers, it is the divorce process which “forces couples to denigrate each other, sometimes completely artificially, to support the profoundly wrong notion that one of them has to be at fault for their parting“.
She also commented that in relation to finances, the law is in just as sorry a state. “Our law is so unpredictable, and so unclear, that it’s hard for couples to negotiate an out-of-court settlement, because they don’t know what they’re really entitled to” she wrote, calling for clearer rules in the event of marital breakdown.
Ayesha highlighted the value of prenuptial agreements, which became legal following Vardags’ historic Supreme Court victory in Radmacher v Granatino, as well as arbitration, which Vardags pioneered in family law. She went on to urge lawmakers to recognise that marriages can, and will, end in divorce and to “plan sensibly to minimise the pain and destruction.”
Arguing that marriage has, and should, evolve with the social context in which it finds itself she added that “as a society, we’ve moved forward culturally and emotionally, to recognise that people part and there’s no point trying to force them to stay together, the same can’t be said for our institutions.”