Sarah Whitten has had a busy year, working on a mix of divorce, sorting out finances and children matters.
‘I’ve done even more prenuptial agreements than usual,’ she tells Spear’s. ‘Particularly for clients who are marrying for the second or third time. I’ve enjoyed mediating as well.’
As for trends, Whitten says the ‘long overdue’ proposed reforms to divorce law could reduce conflict. ‘We continue to see a system struggling to cope with the volume of cases it has to deal with,’ she says, ‘but many of our cases take advantage of the other ways of resolving issues, like private Financial Dispute Resolutions.’
Whitten continues: ‘Much of our work has an international angle, so the continued uncertainty around Brexit means that many clients have justified concerns about children and finance matters, and if they should be proactively addressing different potential scenarios during a separation.’ Elsewhere, ‘nuptial agreements continue to be ever more popular. Families are changing; we expect to see more work in surrogacy, same sex relationships and cohabiting relationships of all types.’
Whitten’s clients come from a wide range of backgrounds, with many being international – living abroad, or international families living in London. ‘Our work is very personal for our clients and they want results, but we also have to manage expectations as to options and timing,’ Whitten says. ‘We also can’t change who they were married to, and their approach to resolving things will often be what determines how long the process takes.’