July 19, 2013

Why TV chef’s “quickie” divorce is a recipe for success

Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi’s seemingly “amicable” divorce is to be applauded. Their decision sends out a strong and positive message that marriage breakups need not be confrontational and protracted.

We so often see celebrity couples fighting in public, resulting in significant financial loss and damage to their personal reputations. Here we have Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi taking a mature and sensible approach to ending their 10 year marriage. A very public scrap of the “he said, she said” kind would only benefit the tabloids and indeed could harm Ms Lawson’s career as a celebrity chef which is rising to new heights in the States.

According to media coverage, the couple expect to have a decree nisi by the end of July. Of course Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi are very wealthy – reportedly worth around £150 between them. Saatchi has a personal fortune of £130m thanks to his advertising career and art collection, while Lawson has made £20m as a TV chef and author. That kind of wealth means that they can afford to speed up the legal process by paying for documents to be ferried backwards and forwards between lawyers, themselves and the court.

So just how realistic is it for non-celebrity couples to achieve such a speedy divorce?

For most people a more realistic time-scale for a swift divorce is two to three months from start to finish. However, there are lessons that separating couples without vast wealth at their fingertips can learn from the Lawson/Saatchi break up.

  • A speedy divorce is possible if both parties agree to move the legal process along at a brisk pace and without confrontation.
  • If there are no children from the marriage, or it is a relatively short marriage, then the divorce may be more straightforward.
  • Media reports suggest that Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi had a pre-nuptial agreement – enabling financial matters to be sorted out quickly.
  • Avoid fighting over why the marriage broke down and apportioning blame. This only serves to open up old wounds and prolong the divorce process.
  • A sensible, pragmatic and collaborative approach helps to ensure that critical issues such as finance and children are dealt with calmly and effectively.
  • Aiming for a swift and amicable end to a fractured marriage enables both husband and wife to move on with their lives without constantly looking over their shoulder to the past.

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