Sandra Davis' Week: Divorce probability calculator

26 AUG 2010

Sandra DavisIt's the silly season. Most of the country is overseas or (despite the weather) glamping. As for family lawyers, a short pause for breath following the chaos caused by Imerman and the disastrous Legal Aid tender process is most welcome.

So, as I escaped for a week away, I was intrigued by a short piece in Friday's Telegraph about the "Divorce Probability Calculator". The calculator was designed by a US insurance company looking to attract attention for the kind of product that Kenneth Clarke appears rather keen on as an alternative to public funding.

Perhaps the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice should log on to the site: www.divorce-r-us.com/pain-and-misery (not really - but it may as well be). There he will find that with only a 13 per cent margin of error the brokers can predict the probability of divorce and, undoubtedly in due course, provide a quote for cover against the cost of divorce.

Much like a polygraph, there appear to be a number of "control" questions: age, income, family marriage history and the like. Some of the others are likely to send physiological indices (and premiums) through the roof. Drug or alcohol abuse and/or a history of mental illness?  Well you may still be insurable, but it'll cost a small fortune. But the question that really jumps from the page is "Had forced pre-marital sex?" Now I'm no underwriter, but frankly some risks have just got to be uninsurable.

Sandra Davis is a Partner and Head of Family at Mishcon de Reya. She is a member of the firm's management board, a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the author of International Child Abduction (Sweet & Maxwell, 1993) and a member of the Lord Chancellor's Child Abduction Panel. In 2009 she was shortlisted in the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards as a Leading Lawyer.

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.

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