Sunday, 29 May 2011


Take That fever has reputedly been gripping the North East after Gary, Robbie and the gang launched their new tour from the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.

You have no idea how much I enjoyed typing that. Usually when a divorce lawyer discusses Take That Fever it’s because they’ve been deluged with issues concerning the division of house contents or, even worse, had an incident of domestic violence to advise on.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Once upon a time a client contacted me. “I want an injunction,” he said.

Assuming that he had been at the humiliating end of an incident of domestic abuse, I warned him that even court orders that prohibit threats and molestation can have their shortfalls as I prepared to take notes and asked him to tell me what had happened.

“I’ve been having a relationship with another woman for a few years now,” he began, “It’s now finished and I’ve confessed everything to my wife.”

“And she’s got angry and frightened you?” I queried.

"No, it’s the ex girlfriend; she’s threatening to go to the newspapers.”

“Are they likely to publish?” I enquired.

“Look I’m not so bothered about that, I just want to be really famous,” he replied. “I work in a bank, play football at weekends and I’ve even been in the audience of a Top Gear show, so I thought I’d have all the credentials for a truly super injunction.”

“Will trying to stop publication grant you the fame and publicity you are clearly so readily seeking?” I asked.

“Yes, if the whole mad world starts tweeting about me instead!”

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


The “nanny state” has become a euphemism for the way our lives are controlled, reputedly in our best interests. Our current Government also claims to have placed the family high on its agenda.

An example of merging the two has just been reported from the Punjab. Its State Commission for Women has asked newly married wives to reduce the number of calls they are making on their telephones. Apparently statistics there suggest that 40% of women contemplating divorce do so because their husbands suspect them of having an affair because of all the telephone calls they are making.

Of course, there could be other reasons for those calls, not least the garrulous nature of the fairer sex and perhaps, as is traditional in India, the bride has moved to live with her husband’s family but still enjoys chatting with her own.

Still I suppose it’s an idea our current Government in its quest to preserve good old fashioned family values as well as marriages might want to explore. On second thoughts sandwiched between a Government body telling women not to use their phones and a husband accusing them of adultery, divorce might just seem an attractive alternative.

Friday, 6 May 2011


So the latest news in the world of celebrities is that Sir Paul McCartney is engaged again, this time to American business woman Nancy Shevell, whom he has been seeing for four years. According to the rumours they are likely to be married in the USA. I couldn’t find any confirmation as to whether or not they will also be signing a pre-nup. Hopefully after the expensive, long-running, very public and highly entertaining (for the rest of us) divorce from Heather Mills, Sir Paul will have the wherewithal to insist on this, especially now that pre-nuptial agreements have been adjudged capable of recognition in this country. They are not appropriate for everyone but, for those embarking on a second or even a third marriage in their twilight years, seeking legal advice on a pre-nup may not be romantic but it is prudent.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Divorce lawyers are well used to change. Amendments to the law usually reflect changes in social attitudes and behaviour. Inundated with recent changes in practice and procedure, however, we are now waiting to see whether the country is ready for Alternative Voting. The referendum is tomorrow and the electorate is invited to indicate whether it wants to choose its MP by a process of elimination. Frequently described as a means of ensuring that nobody gets their first choice, can you imagine what will happen if it becomes a general social trend? Indeed what would happen if we begin to choose our soul mates for life using the system? With a choice of potential suitors, forget plucking the petals from a daisy as you chant, “He loves me, he loves me not.” Instead put it to the vote of family and friends; go the whole hog and use AV rather than the traditional first past the post system. As a result, according to the No Lobby, hardly anyone will end up with the one they really want. Little wonder divorce lawyers are awaiting the result of this referendum with eager anticipation.

Monday, 2 May 2011


I returned from holiday on Friday to find the country immersed in Royal Wedding mania and inundated by media coverage. Getting home too late in the day to watch the proceedings live, I had not envisaged that it would be quite so easy to catch up on the minute by minute details of the big day nor indeed so difficult to find anything else to watch on television. Every channel and every news bulletin appeared swamped by a plethora of pomp and procession. I quickly learnt from the various expert commentators that there would be a plague of copy cat weddings taking place not only in churches in this country but globally; ivory lace, trees in aisles, strawberry plants and Jerusalem will be the order of the day, together with chocolate biscuit wedding cakes.

I also learnt that only the groom knew the honeymoon destination although there was some comment that in these economically constrained times it would be appropriate for it to be a staycation here in the UK rather than a stay in an exotic, foreign location. It was probably sensible advice. The number of people marrying on tropical beaches has no doubt pushed up the cost of a wedding in recent years. Affordable if you have the savings to pay for it or a life time together to discharge the credit card interest. Divorce lawyers, however, see those cases where a marriage breaks down too quickly and the only financial legacy to show for it are the wedding photos and a large debt. Unsurprisingly neither party ever wants either of them.

Of greater surprise this weekend though was the announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (as I was told they now are) will not be taking an immediate honeymoon after all. Forget the staycation it’s a no vacation, allowing the groom to return to work as soon as possible, though I doubt if it’s through financial necessity.

Outdoor Man and I of course set the precedent for the no vacation honeymoon marrying the day before a Bank Holiday weekend and then, as I recall, spending the weekend anti-fouling his boat! Still we remain together 24 years later, so perhaps it’s a good omen and a trend that might now catch on.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Lawyers are renowned for their straight-line thinking and pedantic natures. Sufficient for them to sometimes be dismissed socially as boring, whilst recognising that those same characteristics help them carry out their work. So, call it boring if you want or the lack of an imagination but Judith has decided to continue practising family law! “Quelle surprise,” you may even say if, by chance, you are practising your foreign language skills at the same time as reading this!

However, my professional life will now be as a consultant with Macks Solicitors, a firm founded by Nick Mack some 15 years ago which has recently expanded into both family law and Darlington. Like me, the other members of the team are collaborative law practitioners as well as members of Resolution. Although my intention is to continue to provide a personal service for clients, there will be wider support and cover from other solicitors meaning that I can hopefully now find time for some of my other interests and responsibilities.

Why Macks you might ask. Well it’s all in the name: “Matrimonial And Collaborative Know-how Simplified.”