Divorce and family law partner Howard London wins an appeal for a high profile client. In Mr. London’s words, “This case is a perfect illustration of what happens when divorce meets recession meets downsizing.”

The case he is referring to is that of David McLauchlan, who worked for nearly 35 years at Lord Bissell & Brook, serving as an executive committee member and earning as much as $500,000 per year. Mr. McLauchlan sought to modify an order that he pay his wife of more than 30 years $14,000 a month in alimony after their divorce.

In 2006, six years after his divorce became final, his earnings declined. They continued to do so as Lord Bissell merged with Locke Liddell & Sapp, falling to about $165,000 in 2008. McLauchlan was then asked to leave at which time he began a solo practice. By 2010, he had tapped $806,000 of his retirement funds and estimated his remaining assets would be going in four months.

In the Illinois appellate opinion issued in March, 2012, the court upheld a trial judge’s decision to reduce McLauchlan’s alimony payments to 20 percent of his income, retroactive to 2008. The appeals court found that the trial judge had wrongly included his retirement withdrawals as income in calculating maintenance.