Wednesday, 20 July 2011


My thanks to Next Media Animation for this video and its complete explanation of the reasons for this latest celebrity divorce, Taiwanese style. According to William Shakespeare, Mark Anthony was once heard to say "There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd," but of course he wasn't talking to J'Lo at the time.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


I can get rather bored with news coverage when it deluges you with the same story day after day after day. The latest phone intercepting scandal involving the now defunct News of the World, however, reminded me of the client who, once upon a time, called to see me and triumphantly whipped from her handbag a polythene bag which she had carefully labelled “Exhibit A.”

“What’s this?” I asked as I peered closely at something which to this day I am still convinced was a press-stud.

“A bugging device,” she whispered. “I found it under my telephone!”

Now I am a solicitor, not an agent for Her Majesty’s Secret Service, so I have to confess that my knowledge of these things is severely limited. However, I can assure you that there was no resemblance at all to those small sinister objects you see James Bond remove from hotel rooms, on the big screen.

Who put it there?” I enquired with interest, for my client was newly separated.

“My husband, of course,” she replied. “He gave the game away when he was helping me move in and I heard his hacking cough!”

Friday, 15 July 2011


Of course I don’t believe in astrology but it never stops me glancing at my horoscope. Yesterday I was tickled by this offering on Yahoo: “Romance seems elusive. Don’t worry it will come back again….Writing, studying, and reading will bring you lots of pleasure. You might even want to try your hand at penning a love story.” Somehow I don’t think the astrologer realised that I am a divorce lawyer.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


This evening I attended a barbecue at Crathorne Hall, courtesy of Baines Jewitt. The beer, beef-burgers and conversation all flowed for what was an excellent event. However, barbecues aren’t always that way and do have a habit of featuring in clients’ divorce petitions. It seems that on warm summer evenings mixing barbecued food with alcohol, can be a lethal combination. The flames die back, the charcoal smoulders, sparks fly and pretty soon there’s only a pile of sorry looking ashes.

Friday, 8 July 2011


On Friday The Huffington Post reported the outcome of Cheap Chic Weddings’ annual toilet paper wedding dress competition. Yes ladies, you too could enter next year; just design, create and model your very own two-ply perforated bridal gown. Of course, you’ll have to ignore all the asides about marriage landing you in “the poo”, or how it’s as easy to flush away as it is to get a divorce. Oh, and to spare all embarrassment, you’d better pray you don’t get attacked by an Andrex puppy!


Once upon a time in the days before mobile phones and the internet, indeed in an era when nobody could ever have imagined legislation such as The Shared Parental Orders Bill, an old family lawyer told me: “Don’t be fooled. If God had wanted parents to share the care of their children after separation He’d have made the world in 7 days and with an 8th for rest, they could then have each had 4 days with their offspring.”

How times have changed, although we do still have a seven day week but, even where parents divide up time with their kids on 14 day cycles, some children never know where they are going to be next. Homework, gym kit and school shoes are regularly left in the wrong house and we end up with a doubling up of all kinds of paraphernalia including an assorted menagerie of pets, pens and petticoats. Arrangements that work in some families don’t work in others; for some the dates and times are regimented and work like clockwork for others there is a permanent state of confusion, blissful or worrying depending upon the individuals concerned.

We have reached a situation where a colleague who practises in a different part of the country confessed that shared residence orders are handed out like sweeties in her local court, contrasting sharply with some of the District Judges I have appeared before who have insisted that a child must know where its permanent home is.

Unable to split the week properly in half, dividing children equally begins to sound a little like the Wisdom of Solomon. Hats off therefore to Gingerbread and One Plus One who published a report today with the timely reminder, not least to those about to consider that Shared Parental Orders Bill, that what is of paramount importance is the welfare of children. Their interests are the number one priority and they cannot be determined by any legal presumption in favour of shared care, especially if enshrining such a presumption into legislation enhances it to the status of a parental right. Tough conclusions but where the happiness and well-being of children are concerned, the idea of parental rights has to take second place.