With the lull in the Britney Spears endless psychotic episode, Brits can turn their attention to these shores for the continuing saga of the divorce between Sir Paul and Lady McCartney. This is a case wherein the term “lady” is certainly a case of form over substance.
I’m not usually one for celebrity news or gossip. However as a lawyer I have been keeping an eye on this one for the precedents it may set. Heather is about to get £55 million for four years of putting up with a luxury lifestyle, though that may be part of the problem. Sir Paul is worth a little bit less than £1 billion but he doesn’t live like it. I mean, he doesn’t live like poor folks, but perhaps Heather was expecting to tap into it a bit more.
But I’m straying into the gossip. What isn’t gossip is that divorce is a lucrative racket. Susan Sangster is getting her fourth divorce. She’s amasses a fortune from her previous marriages and was looking to improve on it after just 14 months. She had hoped to get her pre-nup invalidated, but when she found out that wasn’t going to happen, she decided to cut her losses and run. Probably into the arms of husband number five.
Writing in today’s Daily Mail, Amanda Platell has an insightful commentary on the injustice of modern divorce. It is something that may be a developing phenomenon here, but old hat in the States. Even though I never had a case involving particularly rich clients, the injustice climbs right down the socio-economic ladder. It is one of the reasons I’m glad I don’t practise anymore.
Divorce is the only no-fault breach of contract. In any other cases, if one party wanted to just dissolve the arrangement against the wishes of the other, the breaching party would be responsible to the non-breaching party. In divorce, the breaching party can walk out of the contract without cause and take the other to the cleaners. Hopefully the courts won’t let Heather Mills do this.
Now if we could only get rid of no-fault divorce.