A law firm in the U.K. now offers divorce vouchers for warring couples

After two weeks’ over-exposure to one another during the Christmas break, the first call many couples make is to their lawyer. Vanessa Lloyd Platt, founder of Lloyd Platt & Co, one of the U.K.’s top divorce law firms, says she gets a 60 per cent increase in inquiries in the first week of January.

A few lucky couples, though, will have had a head start. These are the ones who got Lloyd Platt divorce vouchers for Christmas. “It’s not quite as bad as it sounds,” Ms. Lloyd Platt says. “We are offering legal advice vouchers. Our aim is not to push people into divorce; rather it’s to give people a chance to talk through the legal implications of separating.”

Even so, it is a curious Christmas present. “I agree,” she says, “but it started when a friend asked me how she could contribute to her niece’s divorce. I suggested a voucher, and she said ‘great.’” By Christmas Eve, more than 60 had been sold. The majority were bought by women for other women friends — “There’s something quite powerful about five or six people joining forces to send you a message that they feel it’s time you dealt with an abusive relationship.” Some were bought by agents who were fed up with hearing about their clients’ problems — Lloyd Platt & Co gets more than its fair share of celeb break-ups. And a few were bought by mistresses to give their dawdling inamoratas a kick.

However, Ms. Lloyd Platt is adamant that no one bought one just for a laugh. “We did two vouchers; a half-hour for £125 plus VAT and an hour for £250 plus VAT,” she says. “Either way, it’s a very expensive laugh.”

But will it catch on?

“I don’t see why not,” says Ms. Lloyd Platt. “I’ve had inquiries from all over the world. I even had one lawyer asking if I thought there was a market in Christmas vouchers for making a will. I had to tell him there were limits.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2010

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