Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Heather Mills and Paul McCartney Saga


The relentless fascination and obsessive coverage of the Heather Mills- Paul McCartney divorce saga continues.

For me, the tomato ketchup throwing incidents have a ring of truth. They create a picture of domesticity, not on billionaire row but one which we can all relate to. I'm not sure I know anyone who's actually thrown a ketchup bottle, but I guess that everyone I know owns one.

A ring of truth is important in any statement filed in Court. I remember an incident described as "he smashed the window with a jar of Chicken Tonight". We changed the statement to " he smashed the window with a jar of cooking sauce called Chicken Tonight" in case the judge had never heard of Chicken Tonight. Either way it created a much more vivid picture than " he smashed the window".

The vilification of Heather Mills is unpleasant to watch, rather like a public execution. She is a beautiful woman so references to her artificial limb are repeated ad nausea. Pity poor Anne Widdicombe, Clare Short and Sarah Ferguson who have all had terrible bashings by the press, centred on their looks. We don't read comments about how short George Bush is and how messy his hair is, but we do get lots of articles about Condoleezza Rice's outfits and suggestions that she may be romantically involved with various foreign counterparts. If there was less sexism a press report might read:

" George Bush, only 5 foot 8 inches tall with wiry grey hair stood with Condoleezza Rice, who looked extremely smart in a knee length tight grey skirt suit which displayed her shapely calves to good effect, getting up at 5am to work out has certainly paid off for her. George on the other hand needs to work on his abs. They greeted the president of Pakistan".

Only their names and the last sentence are relevant. Remember that when you file a statement in Court, stick to the facts with a ring of truth, judges hate long statements - they have to read them after all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Heather Mills and Paul McCartney

Allegations, Allegations, Allegations

The front page of one of the newspapers I am least likely to buy ever drew me like a magnet today, which cost me 45 pence. It goes by the name of:

The Daily Mail

What grabbed my attention was the Paul McCartney -Heather Mills divorce saga and the Madonna adoption drama.

I will save the adoption for another blog.

In respect of the Heather Mills and Paul McCartney dirty washing debate, in my experience, which is based upon a combination of:
  • professional
  • personal
  • romantic fiction I read when I was 15
  • social psychology I studied when I got bored of maths options at university
their relationship is not over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

According to the media reports they are heading for a defended divorce in open court. A defended divorce is rare nowadays, but the reported cases make amusing reading (one I read made me laugh more than Ricky Gervais, and he is my favourite, favourite comic!!!!) . Again, according to media reports, the celebrity protagonists, who do so much work for charity, appear determined to fight it out, no matter what the emotional cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go paintballing, get counselling, get back together!!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Why does a non paying dad get to see his kids?

It can seem dreadfully unfair. You struggle to buy the kids school shoes and your ex expects to see them when he/she chooses and pay nothing towards their keep. He/she may even demand that they arrive with a packed lunch !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Equally unfair is the dad (and it's usually the dad) who pays for everything so that his children don't suffer but is frequently let down by the mother cancelling contact visits, refusing ever to let him see them on Christmas Day, and treating his request to take them on holiday abroad in the same way an alien expedition to Mars would be greeted.


The Court's concern is the child. The public policy is that it is the child's right to have a fulfilling relationship with both parents, no matter how bad or feckless those parents are. Provided, of course, that they are not at risk of harm.

The all paying dad would obtain more contact with his children if he went to Court, probably even alternate Christmas's, but he won't do it because he puts his children first.

The non paying dad (and it's usually the dad) does not put his children first. He may even quit his job to avoid a Child Support Agency assessment. I do not want to stand up for any of these people but the ones who show an interest in seeing their children are better, surely, than the ones who simply disappear?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Can I stop my spouse divorcing me?


How do I stop my spouse divorcing me?

There are very limited circumstances in which you can stop a divorce.

If a petition is based upon 5 years separation the Respondent may be able to object on the grounds that the divorce will result in grave financial hardship or other hardship and that it would be wrong in all the circumstances to grant a divorce. The facts need to be specific.

In all other cases, objecting to the divorce and filing an answer (defence) and/or your own petition will make the divorce more expensive, more painful and more time consuming but it
will not stop it happening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you think about it, filing a bare defence states that the marriage has not irretrievably broken down. The parties are in court and one party has made allegations concerning the other's behaviour. The other party not only has to show that these allegations are incorrect "I'm not untidy, I always hang my coat up" type thing, but also that the marriage is still intact. How is this possible? Why is your spouse trying to divorce you as if your marriage isn't worth a tin of beans?

The alternative, to accept that the marriage has broken down, but it's because of your behaviour not mine, tit for tat, will result in a divorce, the opposite of what you wanted!!!!!!!!


The only way is to persuade your spouse that a reconciliation is in order. Sounds expensive, but not as expensive as a divorce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Can one lawyer represent both of us?


Couples separating without acrimony, who have grown apart and no longer love each other and simply wish to go their separate ways, often ask whether one solicitor can represent them both.

The answer is always no, no matter how friendly you are.

One lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce because this could result in a conflict of interest. Divorce is a form of litigation and the English Legal System is adversarial. A lawyer will advise you what is in your best interests, which, given the nature of the dispute, is unlikely to be in your spouse's best interests.

It is not necessary, although it is advisable for you both to have a solicitor. One party could instruct a solicitor and the other could represent themselves. However, the solicitor drawing up the papers will be acting on behalf of one party only and this is worth remembering if you are the unrepresented party.


It is also worth remembering that some people don't act in their own financial best interests. Instructing a solicitor does not compel you to take his/her advice, although it does seem a pointless exercise to instruct and then not act upon it. Some people simply wish to know their legal rights and then are quite prepared to act against them. For example, men who have left their wives for other women; men whose wives are the main breadwinners and who are too proud to claim their share; men who don't want their children to be affected financially by the divorce; woman who are scared of their husbands; women who would rather go without than take "his money".

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Ethics of Dating During Divorce


People often ask:

"Can I date now that we've started divorce proceedings?"

The answer most often is:


Amicable divorces can be turned into acrimonious divorces overnight if your spouse finds out. At the very least it will complicate financial issues and lead to questions concerning potential cohabitation. It can also affect the divorce itself, because behaviour after divorce proceedings have commenced is relevant.

Divorce is one of the most traumatic events an adult can go through and as such has an impact on your own, and your spouse's behaviour. So, even if your spouse has left you for someone else, expect a reaction if you start the dating game yourself. Divorce turns the most rational, fair minded individual into an irrational twin.

Sometimes of course, dating can be a deliberate attempt to get your partner's attention. Who can forget Princess Diana's revelations? However, the sad fact is that if your spouse wants out, has met another and no longer finds you desirable or attractive, dating someone new is not going to make him/her change his/her mind. What it may do though, is make him/her become more awkward, such as refusing to let you see the children because your new girlfriend has moved in, or refusing to have the kids overnight so that you can't go out without paying for a babysitter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!