Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Britain's Angry Wives Target Bonuses

LONDON -- London bankers are celebrating a record £8.8 billion ($17.4 billion) year-end bonus pool. Thanks to a court ruling on future bonuses, spouses and their divorce lawyers may have the last laugh.

A recent judgment involving an antiques dealer and his wife may let ex-wives claim a portion of payouts awarded long after a breakup, burnishing London's reputation as a top venue for big-money divorce settlements.

The climate is so favorable to ex-wives that divorce lawyer Jeremy Levison advises executives to avoid the altar altogether. Pre-nuptial agreements offer little protection because British judges are not bound to follow them.

"Don't get married,'' said Levison, a partner at family law firm Levison Meltzer Pigott. "If you must, make sure your other half is as rich as you are.''

Britain's highest court ordered Kenneth McFarlane, a Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu partner, to pay his ex-wife £250,000 ($490,000) per year for life after the breakup of their 16-year marriage.

Julia McFarlane's lawyers argued for a greater sum in recognition of her role in raising the couple's children and other domestic contributions.