I caught up with Holt at his office at 221B Billiard Street, where his secretary, Ms. Hobson said he was expecting me. The office was well-appointed in a traditional style with leather, brass and mahogany accoutrements. There were Jade treasures from the Orient hidden among the books behind the glass and wood of his bookcase. The red and blue rug was from Tibet. The chess set was ready for the first move.

I sank into one of the two wingback client chairs as Holt spoke on the phone and typed on his computer at same time.

“It seems my new client’s marriage to the daughter of a well-known politician is not working out.” Holt had the habit of starting his sentences halfway through his thoughts. Which was why he needed me perhaps, to untangle the story.

Holt had just been hired, by email and telephone exchanges, to represent a Mr. LeStrange, successful investment advisor, in a divorce. The marriage had lasted three years and while  there were no children, there were allegations of a mistress. The wife wanted 110% of the husband’s income and assets, although she would settle for half her monthly livi expenses and half of the assets.

Holt rang up; the opposing counsel, one Marion Moriarty. “This is Holt.” he said.  “I’m representing LeStrange.  Just calling to introduce myself and see if it is possible to settle this case.”

“Yes, it is possible although your client is an adulterer and abandoned my client and has paid none of her expenses since deserting the family home.  I’ll need copies of the husband’s tax return and statements for his bank, stock and retirement accounts.”

She also requested that the husband indicate his good faith by paying for the wife’s expenses, while the parties negotiated a final settlement. Her expenses included country club dues, gym membership, manicures, and clothing.

“How did you arrive at the temporary alimony amount?” Holt inquired.

“I used the guidelines.” responded Moriarty.

“And what incomes did you use?” asked Holt.

“$150,000 for the husband, and $40,000 for the wife.”

“And where did you get the husband’s income?” Holt asked her.

“You gave it to me.”

“And the wife’s income?”

“That’s her 2020 income for the year to date.” said Moriarty.

“So you used $80,00 for the wife’s income for the whole year?”

“Yes, of course.”

Holt raised an eyebrow. “Temporary support is for necessities, not country club dues,” he said.

Moriarty replied. “I’ve written articles about this. The judge will maintain the status quo.”

Holt rejoined, “The person who cites herself never lacks for authority.”

Moriarty hung up and the line went dead.