Kate Daly: why you should break up with divorce lawyers

After a particularly acrimonious and expensive divorce, Kate Daly quit her job to set up a service to help couples separate without rancour.

When Kate Daly and her former husband split up, matters quickly turned toxic when they both hired divorce lawyers, says Jill Martin Wrenn on the BBC. Hostilities escalated, with “huge amounts of money being spent on things that were irrelevant and not important to the process”, Daly, now in her mid-40s, says.

Her experience prompted her to quit her job as a corporate counsellor to business leaders to set up as a divorce coach to help couples separate “without rancour”. Then, brainstorming with her friend Pip Wilson, Daly (pictured) realised she could go further and help couples divorce without lawyers being involved at all. So Amicable, an app and website that connects couples with counsellors, was launched in 2015. 

The company helps divorcing couples to draft and agree on a settlement that they can take to a family law judge in England and Wales for the divorce to be granted. Amicable has helped more than 2,000 couples in this way and claims to be both cheaper and faster than using lawyers, with couples paying as little as £300 for the service. 

The London-based firm has now secured around £1m of investment to fund its expansion. Its current annual turnover is around £600,000 and it employs 15 people. Its growth hasn’t been without setbacks, however. Family law lawyers questioned its legality, as did some judges, but the uncertainty around this was laid to rest in January when a High Court judge ruled in Amicable’s favour. Potential investors turned up their noses because they didn’t want to be involved in a business that appears to make divorce easier. 

But Amicable isn’t about making breaking up easy. “We’re about people getting through the process in a way that doesn’t add to what is already a difficult situation,” says Daly. “Divorce ultimately is a sad thing, but it’s not a bad thing. People shouldn’t be punished for coming to what no doubt is a really, really difficult decision.”

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