Thought Leadership

The Benefits of a Team in Divorce

Family lawyers are simply not equipped to deal with all the issues that arise during a divorce.

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Family lawyers are simply not equipped to deal with all the issues that arise during a divorce. We hear from divorce lawyer, Matthew Taylor, a Partner at Stowe Family Law, a countrywide firm specialising in divorce, on why ‘three is the magic number’ when it comes to putting together the perfect divorce team.

This is a topic close to our hearts as we have been strong advocates of this triangular approach for a long time now. As such, we thought it would be interesting to share with you our interview with Matthew where he reveals to us the benefits he has seen for his clients when working as part of a divorce team.

Lawyer, Advisor, Counsellor?

Divorce is widely considered to be the second-most stressful life event, coming behind only the death of a loved one. It is a time of great uncertainty, insecurity, confusion and worry. These concerns take many forms, spanning a full range of legal, financial, and emotional issues.

As a divorce lawyer, clients often approach me expecting that I will have all of the answers to the myriad of stresses rattling around their head. While that is entirely understandable –after all, I deal with people going through a relationship breakdown day in, day out – family lawyers are simply not equipped to deal with all these issues. In fact, no one professional is. That is why I preach to my clients the benefits of working not just with a lawyer, but with a financial advisor and a  divorce coach to create a team (some might say, a holy trinity) to guide a client through their divorce.

What can each advisor do for someone going through a divorce?

  • A lawyer’s focus will be on the divorce process itself, mainly on untangling a client’s financial position and reaching a settlement. A lawyer will advise on the best process for each individual – whether dealing with things out of court directly through solicitors, in mediation or arbitration, or by making a court application – and then following through that process, from financial disclosure and analysis of the parties’ current position to providing advice on how the legal framework would be applied to their case and attempting to reach a settlement.
  • A financial advisor can get involved with the legal process, helping a client to prepare their financial disclosure so that it is presented in a clear and understandable way. As negotiations progress, they will look at the real-world impact of a proposed settlement, modelling how someone’s asset or income position may change over time, as well as looking at the pros and cons of retaining certain assets and assessing whether the likely settlement will allow the client to live the lifestyle they wish.
  • A divorce coach will support a client through the emotional gamut of relationship breakdown, helping them to process the end of the relationship and to move on through the divorce and beyond in a healthy way, dealing with negative emotions that they will doubtless be experiencing.

What are the benefits of this approach?

Receiving this advice from a multitude of specialists pays dividends. A client who is able to regulate their emotions thanks to the support of a divorce coach, is more likely to make better, swifter decisions in the legal proceedings. This change of mindset is likely to reduce the time and costs of their financial negotiations. Those negotiations can then be truncated when a financial advisor informs them that the settlement being put forward by their spouse will meet their ongoing needs. Or, conversely, a client can know when to reject a superficially attractive offer, if they receive advice that it will not meet their needs in the long term.

Does this triangular approach cost more?

While the thought of engaging not one but three professionals to help with a divorce – at a time when finances are already stretched – may not immediately sound attractive but it can pay huge dividends in focussing minds and leaning on expertise. The returns on investment are huge.

Better-informed, emotionally regulated clients make better decisions. Better decisions not only lead to long-term financial health but enable matters to be dealt with more efficiently. The upfront cost may be higher but if that results in a divorce concluding six months quicker than it otherwise might, not only are the legal costs likely to be significantly less, but the savings in stress and uncertainty by resolving things more quickly are incalculable.

Does this approach work for everyone?

The benefits apply to clients across the board, whatever their position. My clients in high value financial cases generally fall into two camps; those with the financial acumen who are time-poor due to work commitments and need advisors to help them make swift decisions while retaining focus on their day-to-day responsibilities, and spouses who have not dealt with the finances during the marriage and are suddenly thrown headlong into a confusing world, having to make life-altering decisions at a time of great stress and personal difficulty. Whatever position, the benefits of the right advisors are huge.

What about after the settlement has been reached?

When a divorce is concluded, most clients may – understandably! – want to move on from having anything to do with their lawyer. But at this point in time, the continued support of a financial advisor is key where there are assets to manage. If a financial advisor has been involved throughout the divorce process, this can be a seamless transition, allowing the client to exit the divorce process more quickly and move on with their life.

Similarly, the end of the divorce does not mean an end to the emotions associated with the divorce. The continued support of a divorce coach can help clients to move on, co-parent with their ex-partner and find love again (hopefully). At which point, it would be remiss of me not to mention that a client would then be strongly advised to return to their lawyer to discuss a Pre-Nuptial or Cohabitation Agreement.

Final thoughts?

Divorce is stressful. No one person has all the answers, but by putting a team around yourself, the stress can be reduced, and the outcomes can be better. As De La Soul once sang, “three is the magic number.”

As can be seen from all of the answers above, this is a complex area and requires thought, consideration, and above all the right advisors, so if you would like any more information, please do contact us or Matt direct.

Mark Estcourt


Mark Estcourt, CEO at Cavendish Family Office
Matthew Taylor, Partner at Stowe Family Law,

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