Saturday, 31 May 2008


Little Girl had a beach party and barbecue today to celebrate another birthday. 40 miles from the seaside, it took a little organising at the bottom of the garden. Outdoor and Apprentice Men took the easy route out and went off sailing for the weekend leaving me to run the show. You know what the great thing is about having no menfolk around? You get to light the barbie and twiddle with the sausages!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


I read today that Dylan McDermott, one of the actors who starred as a litigator in the American TV drama The Practice (another of David Kelley’s legal serials) is to represent himself in court at his own divorce hearing. Now I know that this might sound like sour grapes coming from a divorce lawyer, but had he played a doctor in ER would he be doing his own brain surgery?

Monday, 26 May 2008


Another sunny Bank Holiday weekend; well it was, here in the North. It was too windy though for the planned family sailing trip. Instead I accompanied Outdoor Man on one of his walks, returning last night in a state of collapse, convinced that I would never be able to move my legs again.

So often clients attribute the breakdown of their marriages to separate pursuits or interests. Alternatively domestic chores can be sources of dispute and friction. No chance in our household this weekend. I followed Outdoor Man uphill and over dale, while Little Girl stayed at home in the care of her brother and restored harmony to my kitchen. If I could only step painlessly today, life would be so good.

Thursday, 22 May 2008


Lawyers are invariably consulted regarding the small print in documents especially when clients have signed a piece of paper without reading its contents and regrettably it returns to bite them later. In the family law context, however, it is rare for solicitors to have this problem as the English divorce laws fail to recognise contracts such as pre-nuptial agreements.

Once upon a time or was it yesterday, I had a nightmare of a day with clients continuously enquiring about a new law that excludes men from the upbringing of their children. Imagine, I had distraught fathers on the telephone and implacably hostile mothers queuing up to make appointments. Worse still, for the first hour I had no idea what anyone was talking about. I know that the Government seems to be constantly sneaking in pieces of legislation without notice but to have been given no warning at all?

Then it twigged. Just like contracts, clients had been ignoring the small print and reading the headlines only, for which see the photograph above.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Divorce Drawbacks
Originally uploaded by Architectural Orphans

I blogged about cars being cut in half last week, now my thanks to Social Networking Guinea Pig for drawing my attention to this photograph posted on Flickr by Architectural Orphans.

Sunday, 18 May 2008


I haven’t posted a blog entry for a few days, mainly because I was out socialising every night last week. That’s unusual for me and generally I can at least guarantee being in on a Thursday evening. Last week however I attended an awards ceremony. It began like the Oscars but without the red carpet. After drinks and a meal, the tension was mounting and when the names of the first nominees were read out there was a nervous silence before the winner was announced. We expected to see him be presented with some kind of token, if only a certificate. However, the presenter then announced that there were no prizes but the winners should come onto the stage to receive applause. A little like watching the Emperor in his new clothes the rest of the ceremony continued in the same vein with winners and non-winners both receiving fresh air.

Still, as I reflected afterwards, in some marriages the participants don’t even get applauded for their efforts, no matter how hard they try.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


On the basis that laughter is supposed to be good for you, today has been a great day. Is it May Madness or what?

The UK government has made available online its previously secret files of UFO sightings in the period 1978 to 1987. Comic in their own right, they include various tales of flying saucers and misshapen men from far off places. At the same time Father Funes, a respected scientist in the Vatican Observatory, has had an article published in the Vatican newspaper headlined “Aliens are my Brother” in which he claims that intelligent beings could exist in outer space, created by God, and some could even be free from original sin!

Thank goodness instead for good old fashioned Pythonesque humour from that master of mad comedy, John Cleese. He claimed that being ordered to pay an allegedly excessive amount in maintenance (some $20,000 per month more than his current income) for his ex-wife “is money well spent”. Come to think of it maybe he wasn’t trying to be funny after all and he believes it – just like all those people who’ve seen little green men.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


Yesterday news reports covered the man who had sawn his car in two. When I heard the headlines I assumed that it was part of a bad divorce scenario, only to establish that it was actually a dispute with a wheel clamping company, acting on the apparent instigation of a DVLA official. He had caused the car to be impounded because although it was on a private driveway it was untaxed and the rear bumper was protruding onto the footpath. By cutting the car in two the man concerned sought to ensure that the company could only remove that part of the vehicle that was infringing the law.

In any event it brought back memories of so many cases where in a fit of pique and with a chain-saw in their hand one party or the other following marital disharmony and breakdown has literally divided chattels equally with their spouse. Don’t be tempted to try it, there’s always a big pay back to be made when financial and property matters are finally resolved within divorce proceedings.

The case that I remember most vividly however has to be when once upon a time a hot headed client who was convinced that his wife had left him to live with another man, also had a go at taking it out on the unsuspecting gentleman’s car. He used a sledge hammer, rather than a disk cutter and his justification went along the lines that as he felt he’d had his insides punched to bits, the alleged man friend could have a taste of his own medicine. Trouble was it materialised that his wife was actually living alone in a studio flat and the car belonged to another resident in the same block. Needless to say a criminal prosecution followed.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


Celebrity divorces are inevitably great sources for quotes. None more so than when Robin Williams (he of Mrs Doubtfire fame, and yes I am old enough to remember him in Mork and Mindy too) speaking on a TV Interview show earlier this week, said “I think a lot of times divorce can be like circumcision with a weed whacker!”

Fortunately for Williams, it sounds as though the whole process is going smoother than that for him. Married for 19 years, it has been reported that the divorce documents lodged in court in San Francisco in March include a commitment to be respectful of each other, to keep their children at the forefront and to try to avoid courtroom clashes. Presumably he won’t, therefore, have to disguise himself as a female nanny to maintain contact with his son.

Monday, 5 May 2008


The end of a Bank Holiday Weekend and with two out of three days without rain, it has to be some kind of record! Any way I managed to take advantage of the clement conditions to catch up with my vegetable gardening and have been undertaking some rather heavy digging in order to finish planting the potatoes. It was hard work but the weeds are now in retreat and I feel that I have achieved something.

Clients often remark how easy marriage is compared to divorce. To my way of thinking both are hard work. Compared to gardening, however, neither gives you back ache!

Sunday, 4 May 2008


Yesterday I took Little Girl and two of her friends to Northallerton’s May Fair. A sign next to the Dodgem Cars captured my imagination and I took this photograph of it. Now in what circumstances would you hire that ride for “Fates”?

Each dodgem car holds two people quite closely, and the whole ride could of course be used as some kind of enormous crystal ball for the purpose of foretelling successful relationships. Indeed Gipsy Rosa Lee, who appeared to be absent from the proceedings, could have taken up residence with the dodgems instead of in her caravan.

Imagine: you get in a car with your nearest and dearest, survive a few knocks, scrapes and rocky patches to emerge at the end clutching each other’s hands and laughing. Alternatively your car breaks down in the centre and you abandon it as quickly as you can, each fleeing in opposite directions.

It could catch on as a precursor to taking wedding vows, a little like pre-nuptial agreements.

Saturday, 3 May 2008


Boris Johnson
Originally uploaded by
barney haward

I’ve just heard that Boris is moving in and Ken out. I hope Barbie will be happy. Oh, of course, it’s not that Ken. What can I say? What about: after eight years as Mayor of London, it’s been longer than most marriages these days!