"You only go around once in life, you got to grab for the gusto. You get the opportunity to go splitsville with a Rockefeller, you go for it. Number one, you dump who you got. You marry the Rock. You make huggy-bear for a while. Then you go for the throat. Ball game! You want my advice? That's it."

So began the conversation with R. Preston (Strangler) Curr, attorney-at-law, currently with the divorce-law firm of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe, formerly with the collection agency of Badger, Browbeat and Beelzebub (a firm that fell on hard times when aggravated assault was raised from a misdemeanor to a felony). Curr says you should always remember that when divorcing a Rockefeller, the sky's the limit. You can get more than you think. You can get more than you deserve. You can get pneumonia from the chill of cold cash.You can, he swears, get it all.

And here are some of the things you might want to think about asking for:

Houses. Plural. Houses in Aspen, Palm Springs, Westchester, Monte Carlo, Montevideo, Marrakesh. Houses all over the place. More houses than Century 21. You might even ask for Century 21 just as a good faith gesture.

Nicaragua. The Rockefellers used to own it. Who knows, they might again someday. If not, you can at least hold the draft rights to it.

Brie. An unlimited supply. You might ask -- who needs this pretentious, runny slop, but the kicker in the package is your own fleet of Learjets to fly the stuff fresh from France to the Rockefeller compound in Pocantio Hills. Just like on "Let's Make a Deal," there's always something more behind curtain number three.

Art. All kinds of art. Art by Picasso. Art by Renoir. Art by Rembrandt. All the art in the world. Even Art Linkletter.

Designer clothing. Not just jeans. Jeans you can buy off the rack. On-the-spot designer clothing. You have Halston flown to the house. You give him a needle and thread and some cucumber sandwiches and you say, "See you in an hour, Hally baby, and you either have the goods or you'd better be able to make yourself small in a hurry."

West Virginia.

All the tea in China.

A solid gold Cadillac. Oh sure, you think it's impractical because it's so hard to find a parking space in Manhattan. Look at it this way, you'll never have to worry about where you leave it because it'll be stolen before you get back.

Foxhall Road.

Silk toilet paper. Hey, you never know.

An unlimited charge account at Chase Manhattan.

Exclusive rights to the ice skating rink at Rockefeller (and now your) center.

Albany, N.Y. To rent out to tour groups, Cuban refugees and former inmates of Attica.


Maine, as a summer home.

"This is not unrealistic," Curr said yesterday. "I can deliver. I'm in the books. You can look it up. Why do you think they call me Strangler?"

Curr didn't have much free time. (In fact, he didn't have any free time. This interview cost us $500 for 15 minutes.) He did, however, have time to run down two of his most satisfying victories."I got the former Mrs. Shah, that's the one before Farrah Fawcett-Diba, a pretty good settlement. The shah wanted to get free, I told him -- 'It's gonna cost you, Slick.' I got her 15 tons of caviar, as many Persian rugs as could fill the Tebran Hilton, five F14s and her own H-bomb. And that was nothing compared to what I got for the former Mrs. Henry Ford. I got her own Volkswagen dealership, immunity from all Pinto lawsuits, three of the five Great Lakes, Michigan, a ride in the Indianapolis 500 pace car and a weekend with Burt Reynolds. Lemme tell you something, Strangler Curr doesn't make promises, he makes commitments. If I was practicing in the 1500s and Anne Boleyn got to make one phone call, she could have kept her head, all of Wales and the reprint rights to Shakespeare's greatest hits."

Curr went on to say what was necessary for what he called "A Rock Solid Case." He said, "You gotta understand that you can't knock the Rock without good cause. These guys don't dance. They come in with major league heat. This ain't the Red Cross. You gotta be able to prove either mental cruelty, alientaion of affecton, battery or too many wing-tip shoes. One of those four or you're dead in the water.

"My advice is to start working on you r Rock early in the marriage, like the first night. From moment one pay no attention to your Rock whatsoever. If your Rock says anything at all to you, even something so trivial as, 'Did you see what the Wall Street Journal said about the oil depletion allowance?' or, 'Can you ask the maid to bring me my elephant gun?' tell him to buzz off. I guarantee you that in 30 days your Rock will want out so fast your head will spin. If your Rock plays hardball, do the unthinkable -- sign a petition to support the windfall profits tax.

"And then, as soon as you think you're in the driver's seat -- no change that, as soon as you think the chauffeur is in the driver's seat and you're in the back with the full bar and color TV -- call me. Call me, Strangler Curr at 800-438-2274. That's toll free, at 800-GET-CASH. I'm expensive. cI'm 25 percent off the top, cold cash. But aren't you worth it? And more important, doesn't your Rock got it?

"Don't sell yourself cheap."