Our divorce team air their views on the latest legal pronouncements of football pundit and potato snack promoter, Gary Lineker.

We were so disappointed to see Gary Lineker in this morning’s press (26/4/16) suggesting that divorce should be done by formula; "there should be a mathematical equation that goes straight to the courts and they sort it out". And add to that "we know that lawyers try to manipulate it to make you spend more money and basically end up hating each other".

Not only do his comments suggest he’s been talking to the wrong lawyers, they also show a fundamental misunderstanding of humanity. People aren’t numbers and they shouldn’t be treated like numbers. No two humans are identical, nor are their relationships and nor in consequence can the outcome of their relationships ending just be an equation. An experienced, specialist family lawyer will be looking to achieve the most sensible, amicable and cost effective solution for their clients. And if that’s the aim of both parties and they’re both working with sensible lawyers the overwhelming likelihood is that they’ll never see the inside of a court room. Which is as it should be.

I don’t think you’ll find many family lawyers who would say the current system is perfect – far from it. Family law is way overdue for an update and the present position where there’s far too much discretion and reliance on previous case law is wooly, uncertain and far too difficult to predict. But there’s a big gap between that and the suggested equation which takes no account of the nuances of a household that may well be as relevant to how they manage the breakup of that household as they were to running it in the first place. Yes, if you want specialist family law advice it will bring with it some cost. Just as it will if you want specialist advice to fix your boiler or mend your car. But if you’re talking to the right lawyer they will be as keen to make sure you’re clear on their costs as you are. If it looks like there is no alternative to court proceedings in order to ensure that you achieve a fair and appropriate outcome they’ll look in detail at whether the benefits you will achieve are sufficient to justify both the financial and emotional costs involved.

I’ve no doubt that the media will all be fanning the flames of Mr Lineker’s comments without bothering to talk to family lawyers and getting a realistic picture. I hope that Resolution (the nationwide organisation of family lawyers) may wade in to answer the charges both of manipulation and acrimony and also to explain how daft it is to think that you can reduce real people’s real lives to a basic equation. But in the meantime, those of us working as family lawyers, especially those of us who’ve been working in this field for years, will carry on doing what we do and what we’ve always done. Helping people through a really difficult time of their life, trying to ensure that they come out of a life changing experience with the best possible outcome achieved without wiping out their family resources or ruining any chance of civilised communication in the future. And not thinking that being family lawyers qualifies us to comment on football. Or selling crisps.

You can discuss your divorce issues with us for free by calling our free legal helpline on Taunton 01823 354545. We also offer a free initial appointment at our offices in Bindon Road, Taunton.

Just go back to selling crisps Mr Lineker