Walking and thinking: thoughts on Leeds, divorce statistics and the Cruise split
Everyone seems to winding down for the summer, despite the very mixed weather we have experienced of late in Britain. Exams are over and people are decamping to warmer climes for their summer holidays. But with the Olympics set to begin in London this month the picture is a bit more mixed, with many towns and cities across England gearing up to receive foreign athletes and dignitaries. My home city of Leeds is no exception, as excitement mounts ahead of the arrival of the 300-strong Chinese team and their entourage, who will be based in the city ahead of the Games. It’s a big deal for Leeds, worth at least a quarter of a million pounds and all the stops have been pulled out, with the town’s elders keen to make a striking, global impression.
The city is already twinned with Hangzhou in China and has around 5,000 Chinese studying at its universities and schools. It is a significant coup for the city, especially as the Chinese topped the medals table last time around. It is definitely ready to receive them. I can’t begin to describe how fantastic Leeds is looking. It’s as if the recession has never happened.
The centre is booming because of major investment into its commercial sectors. There are no run-down shops for rent, no shop keepers crying out for Mary Portas to rescue them. Big business has taken over and is pouring millions into massive glass and steel shopping areas which are being built. There is also a brand new Arena in the course of construction, which will attract big names and even more money. The city’s financial and legal quarter is looking prosperous too, and the civic areas are gilded and gleaming in preparation for their eminent visitors. And as for the University campus where the visitors will be based? Wow! I got a shock! The University of Leeds (its Roger Stevens Building is pictured) has metamorphosised into a 21st century campus. The Chinese will love it.
I took in all of this over the weekend by, traveling by foot as I have started fast walking and almost mastered the Walkactive technique. I’m producing ten-minute miles at my top speed and very proud of it. It’s a great total body work out if done correctly, and I set-off early on Saturday morning after I had accompanied a friend to Hospital for a routine appointment. We arrived just before 8am and I was told to “come back in about two hours to collect her”, as the nurse cheerily waved me away.
I was able to cover the entire city – north to south, east to west – and thoroughly enjoyed almost having it to myself at this early hour on a weekend. Walking relaxed but fast meant I could take in the sights and also let my mind wander to consider the big stories of the day.
It’s just been announced that this year’s figures from the Ministry of Justice confirm the divorce rate in the UK is still dropping. So far from divorce being at epidemic proportions, it seems the opposite is the case. So who could have predicted that at the same time, the biggest divorce on the planet would be announced?
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing and it looks as though it will be far from amicable. US divorces aren’t generally permeated with the same “keep it as amicable as possible” ethos that we have here. In fact lawyers proudly advertise as a measure of their proficiency just how aggressive they are. Tom was out of the country filming in Iceland when Katie filed her divorce papers in New York (rather than California where they lived together), reportedly leaving him “blindsided”.
I can’t say I’m surprised at this particular marital breakdown. They never seemed a well-matched couple. He was far too rich and famous, as well as being much older than her and thrice married. He spoke publicly of his adoration for his little known wife. She never said much at all. Can you think of when, if ever, she has looked really happy in any photo of the couple that you have ever seen? Have you ever noticed any shared sense of humour? Any spontaneous hugs and affection?
Jurisdiction races are not pleasant, but a family lawyer always needs to consider where in the world, and in which state or city, the client will benefit most. Katie has more recently been spotted in New York, with speculation that is she is taking advantage of sole custody rulings in New York – as opposed to more likely joint custody in California – as well as high child support awards for their daughter. She appears to have stolen quite a march on Tom, with what seems like a well-planned and carefully thought out strategy coming to fruition while he was out of the country and unable to move quickly in response. But no doubt, and as is usually the case, there will be some payback in time. The stage has been set for a very ugly divorce involving telephone number sums of money and a child that has been lavished from birth with a multi-million dollar wardrobe of her own, private air travel and several different properties to call home. It would also seem her mother has based herself at the other side of a continent, so determined is she to keep her child as much to herself as possible, the implication being the father is unfit to do so.
During the walk my mind also wandered onto something I read in The Times this weekend, a celebrity marriage that is very much at odds with ‘TomKat’. Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman are also very famous and rich screen actors. They however have been blessed with a marriage that has so far lasted thirty years.
Interviewed this weekend, De Vito (who is appearing in The Sunshine Boys at the Savoy Theatre) said simply:
“Use marriage as a leg up, a tool to sustain the two of you. When you’re in a couple, you will do anything that will make the other person have a better life”
Can you say fairer than that? When choosing a partner or even deciding whether to end a relationship, surely that is one of the main considerations?
If you do want to do anything and everything you can to benefit your partner, and they feel the same, then you’re in the right relationship. If not, you aren’t.
And if you don’t think you will ever feel that way towards anyone? Stay single!
And there ended my musings as I arrived back at the hospital breathless, with the city slowly stirring into life. I collected my friend and thankfully all had gone as expected. We then drove off into the Leeds streets – which seem to be vibrating with excitement at the summer that lies ahead.
Image credit: Neil T
Share this post
Get free family law updates
Marilyn Stowe’s new book: expert advice on all aspects of divorce, just 99p!
Divorce & Splitting Up by Marilyn Stowe is the essential how-to book for anyone who is getting divorced or splitting up from a partner. Read more >>
"A must buy that really opens your eyes to what is involved if you are considering or going through a divorce." - Amanda Brown
"This will answer your questions in a way that non-lawyers can understand." - Miss P.
"Don't get divorced without it. I read this book despite being divorced for more than 10 years. I wish I'd had this book to hand at the time. Great examples, simple to read and understand." - Jamie
"This really has helped me to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I will come out of it a stronger person." - J
Marilyn Stowe on SKY News & ITV This Morning
- Lianna on Delaying the Decree Absolute: another look at Miller Smith v Miller Smith
- JamesB on Don’t have children if you aren’t ready for marriage, judge says
- Raven on The Expat’s Tale: “I’m a stuck mum”
- Paul on Don’t have children if you aren’t ready for marriage, judge says
- Stephanie Bamberger on What family lawyers were talking about this week… by John Bolch
Subscribe & Follow
In the Media
Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
Contact Stowe Family Law
These downloads accompany Marilyn Stowe's latest book: Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer. After opening, right click to save to your computer.
For more free downloads, visit the Downloads section.