Why London Is the Place to Ditch Your Billionaire; the Age of Austerity Is Seeing Divorce Lawyers Report a Surprise Surge of New Clients, and the Capital Is Where Many Wives Want to Seal the Split. Jonathan Prynn Reports

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 3, 2010 | Go to article overview

Why London Is the Place to Ditch Your Billionaire; the Age of Austerity Is Seeing Divorce Lawyers Report a Surprise Surge of New Clients, and the Capital Is Where Many Wives Want to Seal the Split. Jonathan Prynn Reports


Byline: Jonathan Prynn

LIKE almost all forms of human activity, divorce has its season.

If the favoured time of the year for weddings is late spring and early summer, for the sadder end of the matrimonial journey it is September and January. Why? Because, according to received wisdom, couples are reluctant to initiate the final break-up while they are on holiday with the children and often use a family break as "a last-chance saloon" to rescue a failing marriage.

So it has come as something of a pleasant surprise to London's leading divorce specialists to see a surge in new clients at the time of year when they would normally expect to be quiet.

The first stirrings of economic recovery might be one factor, says Sandra Davis, head of the family law department at Mishcon de Reya, with wives deciding to strike while the iron's hot and their husbands' wealth once again worth going for after the recession.

Another factor could be fears of a double-dip recession or a clampdown in banker bonuses that will again reduce the available pot in months to come.

This has also come against a backdrop of publicity for ever more spectacular hearings in recent weeks as many marriages put together in the years of bounty fall apart in the era of austerity.

Those cases have supported London's reputation as "the divorce capital of the world", although recent judgments suggest things might be changing. But while London still enjoys a unique status on the global divorce circuit, couples will rack up millions of pounds in legal fees simply to establish the jurisdiction for their divorce hearing.

As Frank Arndt, who heads the international departments at Stowe Family Law, puts it: "We have clients ringing from all over the world asking what the situation is. If it's the wife, they want London, if it's the husband, they want to avoid London at all costs."

This was certainly the case in the saga of wealthy Russian couple Ilya and Elena Golubovich, 24 and 26 respectively, who were married in Italy but lived for a time in South Kensington. When their marriage broke down last year the couple embarked on what was described in court as a "crude race", with Mrs Golubovich wanting to get divorced in London whereas her husband filed his petition in Moscow.

The couple shadow-boxed over jurisdiction like a pair of prizefighters, while the legal meter ticked up to [pounds sterling]2.2 million. Finally, in the Court of Appeal last month, Mr Golubovich won the day and will have his divorce pronounced in Moscow.

This highly remunerative cottage -- or perhaps mansion -- industry known as "forum shopping" dates back to the White v White decision in the House of Lords in 2000. This established the basic principle that wealth built up during the course of a marriage should be split 50-50, regardless of who the main breadwinner had been.

Four years later, the Parlour v Parlour case involving the Arsenal and England footballer Ray Parlour also gave divorced wives (or husbands, in the rare cases where the woman is the big earner) the right to a share of future earnings.

For wives it means heading for the London High Court is a no-brainer. Husbands, on the other hand, are now wising up to the dangers of allowing their divorces to be heard in London. There are stories of wealthy international businessmen with the D-word in their minds persuading wives to live in Scotland.

Imagine the conversation: "Darling, you'll love it up there, we can buy a castle, the air is clean, the schools are wonderful.

And just think of the scenery."

All very persuasive but when divorce comes it will be settled under Scottish law, which usually allows only a modest capital payment and maintenance for just three years.

Possibly the biggest divorce case seen in London in recent weeks involved the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. It is also one of the most straightforward. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why London Is the Place to Ditch Your Billionaire; the Age of Austerity Is Seeing Divorce Lawyers Report a Surprise Surge of New Clients, and the Capital Is Where Many Wives Want to Seal the Split. Jonathan Prynn Reports
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.