Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Little Girl has started to show a keen interest in geography. “You need to move to China’s Yunnan Province,” she told me, last night. “You’d get plenty of rest and relaxation there because they don’t need divorce lawyers.”

I raised an eyebrow incredulously, as she pointed to an article in a copy of “Geographical,” describing the matriarchal society of the Mosuo people.

Apparently men have little or no responsibility but undertake what are described as technical tasks (the equivalent of DIY perhaps), whilst women “call all the shots.” The article even gives an example of how women determine the choice of television programme to be watched and hog the remote control for the TV set.

It sounds just my kind of place, except Little Girl is right; I couldn’t work there because Mosuo men and women don’t marry. Although they have sexual relationships, they do not live together and instead maintain separate lives by each continuing to live in their mother’s home, even after they have children.

Monday, 25 November 2013


There is a growing global trend for love padlocks although as yet I have not seen any in the UK. Apparently superstition has it that if a couple inscribe their initials on a padlock, secure it to a railing and then throw away the key, their love will be locked forever. Popular sites for such are river bridges and seafronts where the keys can be jettisoned into the water below.
Should this custom spread to the various crossings over the River Skerne in Darlington, I have in mind that I mind need to acquire a set of bolt croppers in order to conclude completely for clients the process and issues arising from relationship breakdown.

Sunday, 24 November 2013


I see that during my absence on holiday the long-running High Court case between Mr and Mrs Young reached a conclusion with Mr Justice Moor finding the husband to be worth £40 million of which he awarded the wife half together with a sum of £5 million towards her legal costs of £6.5 million.
Now most people might think that the outcome appears fair and certainly sufficient to satisfy most wives. Mrs Young, however, had argued that her husband is worth “billions”, whilst Mr Young sought to maintain that he is penniless and to hide behind a bankruptcy order, purportedly dismissing a previous offer of £300 million to settle the case out of court as a bad joke on his part.
The figures in this case are, of course, substantial. Bankruptcy and/or hidden assets are nonetheless a feature of many cases. Lawyers will endeavour to make clients aware of the risks of pursuing cases with no guarantee of success, in circumstances where courts can only make awards based on cogent evidence. Also beware the Pyrrhic victory, discovering and identifying funds only for them to be clawed back by the taxman, Trustee in Bankruptcy or in settlement of a criminal confiscation order.
On paper and despite the extent of her costs, Mrs Young appears to be in pocket. However, she still has to be paid by her husband, a man who has already spent time in prison for failing to comply with court orders concerning disclosure of his financial arrangements. It may be therefore that complex enforcement proceedings (including abroad) now beckon, again at high cost and with a lack of guaranteed outcome.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


The practice of tree marriage, reputedly practised by some Hindus in central India, has been actively discouraged only now, it would seem, to be taken up by environmentalists. Hence the reports of the wedding at the weekend between Richard  Torres, a Peruvian actor, and a tree dressed suitably for the occasion in a white tie.
Now I may be being cynical here but, as a divorce lawyer, should I be investing in orchards or even forests with a view to encouraging this practice? Also, does anyone know if there’s a legal procedure for divorcing a tree?

Thursday, 7 November 2013


I found myself idly flicking through a book called “How to Survive Retirement” by Clive Whichelow and Mike Hoskins today. It was one of those little square books that people stuff into Christmas stockings or give to each other as humorous gifts.
It had some very interesting ideas, but the one that caught my eye was a warning in relation to the need to make friends to satisfy the need to talk and avoid loneliness. Don’t be over friendly with the postman, it advised. Wise words indeed; not just for the retired but also for anyone at home when their spouse is working!