Payne Hicks Beach marriage-dissolution maven Fiona Shackleton may be a proven force when it comes to advising on divorce – having represented Princes Andrew and Charles, former Beatle Paul McCartney and singer Madonna – but one client is less satisfied with her savvy when it comes to child support.
Banker Christopher Smith is suing Payne Hicks Beach after being told by rival family law firm Levison Meltzer Pigott that a deal struck by Shackleton put him on the hook for an extra – and allegedly unnecessary – £6,342 a month in child support payments (see story).
Smith alleges that on Shackleton’s advice he agreed to pay his former partner £7,000 a month (that’s more than a one-year PQE lawyer at Shearman & Sterling earns, by the way) in child support, but was later told when he took his business to Levison Meltzer that a Child Support Agency assessment would have made him pay just £658 a month.
He is now looking to claw back the difference between the two awards over the past year – £264,352 including Shackleton’s £95,700 fee.
Payne Hicks Beach managing partner Peter Black said that the firm would defend the claim. Shackleton, meanwhile, is thought to be pining for the days when people showed their displeasure by tipping jugs of water over her.