Like most sensible Family Lawyers, I cringe at the media ‘stress-fest’ surrounding the reporting of Paul Hollywood’s divorce.
Whilst I can understand why the media are reporting as widely as they are given his celebrity status (despite this actually being a very private and personal time for him), what is disappointing is the overinflated hype and constant efforts to make this divorce sound as sensational and acrimonious as possible. I do not think that portraying what is otherwise a perfectly ‘bog standard’ divorce in such lurid and acrimonious terms is helpful.
Despite the media’s fervent hopes – it is actually not the norm for parties to be constantly at each other’s throats during this process (though, of course it does sometimes happen). Constant reporting of celebrity divorces in this manner helps perpetuate an idea that this approach is normal and a normal reaction to separation – whereas nothing is further from the truth.
Actually, having been married as long as he has and having generated his wealth during the course of his long marriage, there is probably not much for Paul and his former wife to fight about. Whilst I do not know the precise details I would have thought that, with a marriage of that length, the principle of needs compensation and sharing will see an equal and fair division of the parties’ finances between them. That Paul and his former wife would not able to finalise matters in mediation is neither here nor there. There is always a range of possible settlement options and one party may prefer one over the other and that can lead to taking more time to settle.
At FDR, the stage in the court process they have reached, they will have the benefit of a Judge working with them both and their respective offers to narrow the issues between them and hopefully broker a settlement to avoid any further acrimony. FDR is a very powerful process and a vast majority of cases settle at FDR or just after.
So rather than reporting, in glorious technicolour, that battle lines are drawn, it is probably fairer to say that Paul and his former wife have probably put forward competing offers to each other and are now going to work together, with their respective legal teams and with the help of a sensible Judge, to come to a solution that will end matters.
So if you are going through, or about to go through, the divorce process, do not be hoodwinked by such media stories into thinking that your divorce need in any way to be acrimonious or a battlefield. Whilst you and your former partner may very well have different views as to what is fair, calm and measured resolution is not impossible and is the most likely outcome of any divorce.