Ayesha Vardag: Redefining Divorce Law in the UK

Ayesha Vardag

One of the top divorce attorneys in the UK, Ayesha Vardag, is one who is well-versed in high-net-worth divorces. Her company, Vardags, is a favorite of kings, billionaires, and celebrities, not dissimilar from the fictional companies depicted in The Split.

Ayesha's victory in a significant Supreme Court case that led to pre-nuptial agreements becoming enforceable in England and Wales is one of her greatest accomplishments. Additionally, she advocated for the 'no fault' divorce, which just became law in England and Wales.

We talked to Ayesha and discovered her career journey in more depth. Here is everything she discussed about the reality of working as a family lawyer. 

Q. What was your driving force to scope out the field of a divorce lawyer?
It was based on my own divorce-related experience. Initially, I practiced commercial and financial law, but after my own marriage ended, I engaged a divorce attorney and collaborated closely with him throughout the course of my case. He made me a job offer after the divorce was finalized. Divorce law is interesting because you have to strike a balance between giving them stern counsel and being there for them in a trying time. To portray your client to the judge in the best light possible, it's a perfect combination to be extremely logical as a lawyer and, on the other hand, to be very creative intellectually and create a tale that is engaging.

Q. What difference is there when dealing with someone who’s in the public eye from an average split?
Some clients are particularly fascinating to the media, which causes them a lot of concern. In that instance, we collaborate closely with our media and privacy department to come up with a collaborative strategy that would give them the most protection possible.

There are also things that are useful. We'll utilize one of the court's less-frequented entrances if we want to avoid drawing too much notice so they're off the beaten path. People frequently don't want to enter the office at all, so you have to go meet them there. Actually, I actually appreciate it because meeting someone where they live gives you a much better idea of who they are.

Other customers, who have felt ignored for a while, wish to share their perspective. This is frequently the case; you have a person who has been voiceless and severely disadvantaged. It may be crucial to them that you give them the freedom to speak openly about their lives.

Q. What did you find the most rewarding aspect of your career?
There is a genuine sensation that you are improving someone's life. Your efforts are having an effect; clients are moving into better homes or, in the event of domestic abuse, are no longer being beaten. Sometimes persons who have been totally devoid of any independence or autonomy find themselves in a position where they can begin making their own decisions and leading their own lives. To witness that is simply so rewarding. It's an honor.

Q. How was your experience of being the first person getting a prenup upheld?
It was very thrilling. I gave that case my entire life—my heart, my soul. I had the impression that what I had accomplished had improved the legislation. I believed that people should be able to decide for themselves rather than having the government make such decisions for them. Additionally, the client felt utterly justified.

Q. What do you find the hardest part in your job?
No one can ever succeed all the time. Sometimes you only receive a portion of what a client requests. It's incredibly difficult when I can't give my clients exactly what they want, but you have to push through because you know you're doing better than anybody else could.

Q. Is the divorce law as hostile and aggressive as it seems in The Split?
People can be needlessly harsh and childish, which surprised me because I'm from the field of commercial law, where such behavior is unthinkable. You must, of course, be tough. You must succeed. But being impolite or rude has no place, especially in family law, where you must act with decency.

Q. There are a lot of misconceptions related to lawyers. What is the worst misconception you can recall that you have heard about your job?
People think that money is our motivation. Family law can provide a very respectable income, but if you want to earn great money, you should move to the City. People who care about families often work in family law because doing so is gratifying on a human level.

Q. You pushed for the 'no fault' divorce that the UK just implemented. What after results have you expected from this?
I'm hoping this is the start of a glorious new era. The whole outmoded notion that there must be blame for a marriage to dissolve is a holdover from Victorian ideals, when divorce was viewed as extremely immoral and disgraceful. It is generally accepted in society that perfectly good and civilized people drift apart over time, and nobody is to blame for this.

The prior technique required you to begin by blaming the other side, which puts them on the defensive. It transforms a potentially friendly situation into one that is antagonistic. 'Oh it's daddy's fault, oh it's mom's fault' has no place and is really awful for the kids. Because of this extremely dark mark between you, it makes the process of moving past the divorce, reestablishing possible friendships, and co-parenting more difficult.

Q. What is your secret on balancing having a great profession and taking care of your children as a mother of five?
At first, it was something of a matter of survival for me, but as time went on, my work proved to be quite beneficial for my family. That's not to say it's been simple; I attend school plays but not every game, I run errands for the school, and I've held parent-teacher conferences over the phone. However, since they have observed me and because I have been extremely fortunate in accomplishing a significant portion of my goals, my kids have desire and drive.

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