In football the most pivotal moments take place in the blink of an eye. All football fans have had ‘that’ moment where they leave the room for a split second and return to find that their team are one down, or one up if it’s a good day. And for former English footballer Gary Lineker, old habits die hard: he recently used a website to divorce his wife, Danielle. He seemed to have been under the impression that a quick ‘whistle’ can also dictate all the rules of a marital separation. But if the divorce process were indeed compared to football, Lineker gets a red card from me.
The high-net-worth athlete apparently found no need to rely on “expensive divorce lawyers” since he and Danielle split on good terms. In deciding that they were not on the same page with regard to starting a family – Lineker already has four grown-up children from his first spouse – the two filled in a few forms and called it quits. The couple were together for 8 years and after divorcing in these circumstances, one can only wonder how their assets were divided and if they were divided fairly. Lineker has certainly earned his status as a highly skilled football superstar and television pundit but let us not forget the numerous mentors, coaches and managers that facilitated his professional progression over time. Seeking absolutely zero legal input from seasoned experts for what was only his second marital breakdown was, undoubtedly, a rookie mistake.
Whether you are parting ways acrimoniously or amicably, it is always wise to secure legal representation. As specialists, lawyers pay attention to every movement and every nuance even more closely than a referee on a football pitch. They pre-empt potential problems for a living and they can identify loopholes in their sleep.
Besides, Gary Lineker’s is a rare case: the journey through divorce will very rarely be so amicable (he and his ex-wife were pictured on her Instagram page this week with the caption “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” – not many divorcing couples can say that!). Even if your separation happens to be surprisingly smooth and cordial, it is recommended that you protect yourself from all angles by instructing a qualified lawyer, and ideally one who specialises in divorce. With all the emotional tension around even the most amicable divorce, the bombardment of paperwork, financial decisions, valuations and myriad options can overwhelm even the most capable of couples.
Another issue with the unsupervised divorce approach is that the narrower vantage point comes with an increased risk not just of falling into a trap – but of unknowingly digging that hole yourself. Trying to cut costs at the expense of proper guidance may simply backfire and end up costing you even more. Invest in quality – do not be in a hurry and save yourself the embarrassment of scoring an own goal.