The corridors of power…

Did you know that you can get divorced in the UK for as little as £230?
There’s a £200 court fee on application and another £30 at the end.

This is assuming, of course, that you can settle the whole thing without
recourse to lawyers ­ almost impossible, you might think. But it can be done.

If you are going to fall out, it will be over money. It has become a cliché
to read about the aggrieved wife suing the rich husband for a large slice of his
hard-earned fortune. Witness the case of Alan Miller, the New Star fund manager
who challenged a £5m award to his ex-wife, Melissa.

And it doesn’t take the divorce courts to flush out women seeking big
pay-outs. We’ve all noticed the stream of City ‘power’ women challenging their
employers for huge cheques.

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein is defending an action by six women who are
suing the bank for nearly £800m over alleged discrimination. Dresdner has
accused the plaintiffs of courting publicity and seeking to smear its

I know where my sympathies lie. Although some of these City high-fliers have
a genuine case, most, I suspect, are chancers.

They set out to cause maximum embarrassment to their estranged employer in
the hope of shaming them into paying out. Each fresh award encourages a fresh
batch of chancers to step forward.

It is hard to feel sorry for the women involved. They are hugely well paid,
yet it is not enough.

The fabulous pay-out becomes a point-scoring exercise over their male
ex-colleagues. Let’s get some sanity back into the process, for all our sakes.

Jon Ashworth is a freelance journalist

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