West London Man (8): Legal advice…

West London Man 8: Audio version

George and Caroline went to a black tie supper party on Saturday. One of George’s ex-girlfriends, the wife of another guest at the party, told George that her investment banker husband was about to be fired in the next round of credit-crunch ‘re-structures’ and asked George if he knew a good solicitor who could advise her on the most efficient way to divorce to maximise her financial position.

George telephoned a partner in a City law firm, a close friend, to seek his advice. George had also read the article in The Observer by Amelia Hill: Divorce rush to grab redundancy pay-offs.

Ring ring… ring ring…

Hugo: Yes.

George: Hugo… It’s George. Sorry to catch you early on a Sunday. A friend of mine has a problem. Ex-girlfriend… husband an investment banker about to get Sugared…. wants some advice on how to maximise her financial position and divorce.

Hugo: George… no problem. Well, as you know, I’m not a family lawyer… but… I know where to find one find one for you. There’s an article in The Observer this morning about this very issue. Sandra Davis over at Mishcon de Reya who handle some pretty heavy divorces as you know – they were Mucca’s lawyers – told The Observer… and I quote: “When money looks like flying out of the window, love walks out of the door.” She said they’ve never been busier with stay-at home spouses asking what their options are. Another lawyer at Mishcon de Reya said… and, again, I quote “A trophy wife is aware she needs to get proceedings moving before he spends his redundancy and all the capital he has built up. But businessmen who lose their job often see it as an opportunity to head straight off to the divorce courts before they find a new job, so alimony payments will be based on their unemployed status.”

George: Bloody hell… What happened to love?

Hugo: Love? Nothing to do with it in some marriages, George. This article in The Observer is crammed full of family lawyers saying how busy they are at the moment…. here’s another one… James Stewart, a matrimonial partner with law firm Manches, said he has never been busier, but it is not just wives coming through his door. ‘In the last week alone, I have had two stay-at-home husbands inquiring about claiming the assets of their high earning wives.” George, I’d get your friend off to one of these guys. They’ll do the business for you.

George: Absolutely…. well… thanks for the advice Hugo. Phew…. scary stuff. Thank God Caroline doesn’t read The Observer..

Hugo: Quite… everything OK at your end, George? No sub-prime exposure?

George: No everything is fine Hugo… just fine. Position covered. I owe you, Hugo. Drinks next Friday… Mahiki?

Hugo: Sounds good… Did you hear that the Police and the council are testing every bar and restaurant in Kensington & Chelsea for traces of cocaine use?

George laughed: I did. Well no-one will need to fudge figures for that report. See you on Friday. Bye.


The Observer article went on to quote an anonymous blogger on www.hereisthecity.com explaining in painful detail why her husband’s redundancy from an investment bank has driven her to head for the law courts. I quote:

“It’s interesting how all these bankers have been writing in detailing their experiences and woes after being laid off,” she wrote, “How typical that they just think of themselves! How about the impact on their wives? Most of us didn’t sign up to share every waking moment with a down-on-his-luck egotist who spends his days moping around with a pitiful hang-dog expression and constantly relives past ‘glories’ in a feeble effort to retain what little self-respect he seems to have left.”

Excellent nonsense. Too many episodes of Sex in The City and Desperate Housewives?

West London Man 8: Audio version

12 thoughts on “West London Man (8): Legal advice…

  1. That’s all a little depressing – largely because I believe it.

    I can’t help feeling that if a marriage folds that easily then it’s not worth preserving. Then again I’m a simple man who’s never sought a trophy wife.

    Ah well, at least some of the lawyers out there are going to make money. They do say we should look for the silver lining. I suspect it’s too late for me to retrain though.

  2. James c:

    You know… James… I have absolutely no idea. I do try to answer questions on my blawg…. but, on this occasion, you have flummoxed me

    Digressing for the moment:

    It is highly unlikely, given that I have a lifetime ASBO preventing me from going within 200 yards of a church or Register Office for the purpose of matrimony, holy, unholy or otherwise, that I shall need the professional skills of a family lawyer. The links were to provide context for readers who may not be familiar with the legal profession or the world of family law.

    It is a sign of our times… perhaps? The Observer story fascinated me.

    Turning to your secondary point: Max Mosley has done more for Formula 1 with his recent escapades than anyone before him. The most boring sport on earth has been enlivened by his hobby… the press coverage is well up…. Last year, to distract us from yet more motor racing processions, we had espionage, intellectual property issues, kangaroo courts…. big money fines… Lewis Hamilton, F1 rookie, losing the Championship..and more footage of a grim faced Ron Dennis…. it just was not enough to keep the braying crowd entertained. The Roman emperors discovered this when they started giving free gladiatorial combat and started throwing non-atheists to the lions for the amusement and edification of the rabble of Rome many years ago.

    As far as I am concerned… Max can do what he likes with his time…
    Although it wasf ascinating to read that an MI5 man had to resign because his wife was one of the cast involved in this particular tupperware party. It is a very small world and there can, of course, be no suggestion, whatsoever, that M15 (and, presumably, the husband) was aware of this involvement at the time.

    I am not a religious man – but, as suggested in the press, it is rather ironic that Formula 1, of all sports, should be holier than thou about private and recreational activities.

  3. Charon seems to ring fence his compassion. What about the mistresses? Rumour has it that over these last couple of months quite a few of them have been dumped. The style of which tends to be – mistress goes home to find her belongings packed and told to get out by her (usually merchant banker) lover with the explanation that he needs to sell the flat.

    What would our familly lawyer pals make of that, one wonders?

  4. Better than the Archers, this…

    Actually, anything is better than the Archers – I have absolutely no idea what they are babbling about.

    Merchant banker is of course rhyming slang 😉

  5. James c…. digression is good… it reveals the liberated spirit and mind.

    Progression is for motorcyclists in traffic and those who wish to plan their lives until death intervenes to stop them making any more plans.

  6. Big Swinging Dick becomes small shrunken penis. Wife becomes money-grubbing, filthy whore. What else is new?

    Ms R of course has never been a trophy wife or been given lavish and expensive gifts. But she is not bitter. Twisted, yes. But not bitter.

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