Thursday, October 26, 2006

Materialism, Fear and Loathing

The Money ProgrammeThe BBC's Money Programme tomorrow is entitled "The Real Cost of Divorce". I don't yet know whether I'll be able to watch it, but there is a short preview article here. Two things from the article are striking:

Firstly, celebrity lawyer Raymond Tooth is quoted as saying: "A rich man in my view should not marry a poor woman. If he does, then he must have a pre-nuptial agreement". Fair enough, advise a client to enter into a pre-nuptial, but did he really say a rich man should not marry a poor woman? Is he really so materialistic that he considers that wealth, or lack of it, should determine whether two parties marry? I find such a concept as abhorrent as the nonsense that someone from one religious or ethnic background should not marry anyone from a different background.

The second point is the claim in the article that "the average cost of ending a marriage through the British courts is about £13,000 per divorce". Where did this figure come from? I assume the programme will shed some light on this, but it surely cannot take into account the vast majority of divorces that are undefended and where all ancillary matters are resolved by agreement. For the majority of family lawyers who do not represent the rich and famous costs anywhere near this figure are a comparative rarity. Unfortunately, seeing such a figure quoted by as reputable an organisation as the BBC will strike fear into the hearts of many who are contemplating divorce, and add to the general public's loathing of the profession.


  1. Excellent piece. I have quoted you on Charon..the blawg. Most interesting.

  2. bagpuss (family solicitor)9 November 2006 at 19:24

    hear hear. I too would love to know where the £13,000 per divorce comes from. I'm racking my brain and can't think of a single case I've delt with that has reached that figure (maybe I'm undercharging?)


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