Digital Magazine – Womanthology interviews Divorce Expert and Founder of Divorce Negotiator, Carol Sullivan, to get an insight into her inspirational story. Read the exclusive interview here.
From divorce lawyer to bricklayer, carpenter and plumber: If you want something done properly, sometimes you have to do it yourself – Carol Sullivan, Founder of Divorce Negotiator
Carol Sullivan is a divorce lawyer based in Hampshire who enrolled on a week-long bricklaying course after rouge builders cost her £160,000. Faced with having to demolish her home, Carol decided her only option was to carry out the construction work on the house herself. She also learnt basic carpentry and plumbing in order to get the work done, eventually recouping all her costs and turning a profit on the value of her home.
“…I worked on the house in the mornings and on client work for my law firm in the afternoons and evenings. It was the push of paying a large mortgage on a property we were unable to live in that drove me…”
Carol, please can you tell us about your career to date and what made you want to become.a divorce lawyer?
I believe I have an entrepreneurial personality as I have had a couple of business during my life. It was in 1994 when I decided to put myself back into education.and take a law degree through the Institute of Legal Executives at Basingstoke College. I loved the course. Our tutor was a district judge from Basingstoke County Court and he made the subject, even land law interesting. Criminal and matrimonial is what interested me the most.
Once completed I took a position at the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). Like many civil service industries, it needed a good shake up, so.I left and found myself a position as a manager for a construction company. It can be hard for a woman in a male dominated industry.but I enjoyed it and gained respect after a couple of years.
My daughter was killed in 2004 and my world fell apart. It was the year of the Tsunami and in 2005.I went to work out in Sri Lanka to help them build their lives again. It was helping me build mine too.
In 2009 and after a horrible divorce I looked into amicable divorces. Did couples want such a thing and was there a need for it? How big was the industry and how many people get divorced? I got to work on my business and in 2010 I started my firm, Divorce Negotiator.
Three years ago you set about renovating your own home after rogue builders let you down. Please can you tell us more?
I was determined to get the work done by any means necessary so I enrolled on a construction course and I had one week of tuition at a local college, working 9-5 and I set to work. I worked on the house in the mornings and on client work for my law firm in the afternoons and evenings. It was the push of paying a large mortgage on a property we were unable to live in that drove me.
There have been many challenges, but.the hardest part of the project was definitely lifting steel joists.
There was also no real feeling of completing the project.as it was still a builders site when we moved back in. I said I would finish it by 2020 and I am probably going to be right. There are still skirting boards, flooring and bedrooms to do.
There’s a big drive to get more women into construction. What would you say to those who say that women can’t carry out this type of work?
If the need to survive is there any woman can do it.
If you could improve construction training to make it more female friendly what would you do?
I am not sure I agree it is unfriendly. I remember hearing a story when I was Chairperson of the Thames Valley Electrical Construction Association.and a parent told me that the school had taken a group of 15-year olds.out to a construction site the previous day. When the children were all back on the coach travelling back to school the teacher said over the mic: “Now that is where you will end up if you don’t work hard at school.”
It can often be a dirty industry but you will never be out of work and your starting salary is good with people earning £40,000 for being an electrical supervisor or a mechanical engineer – not a bad wage!