Saturday, 12 February 2011

He's a Bastard and I want all his Money

This is my title for an anthology of divorce petitions. The "He" is justified by the fact that (in the UK) 90% of all divorce petitions are filed by women.

Fault based petitions are just that: they are places where wives find fault with their husbands. They are the continuation of marital conflict by other means. They should be abolished.

Divorce should be granted on the simple application to a court from either party to a marriage. To stop frivolous applications, an application should automatically trigger an assessment of financial means, needs, entitlements and children's parenting needs - an assessment conducted not by warring solicitors but in a context of independent arbitration and mediation.

If there are grave matters to be dealt with, like domestic violence, that is a matter for the police not the divorce courts.

Only by abolishing the "fault based petition" can one stop the squandering of family resources on solicitors' fees at the stage of marital break-up when people are least reasonable and most reckless.

Wives simply assume that the bills they run up will, eventually, be paid by the Bastard they are divorcing. It does not occur to them that this may also reduce the Bastard's ability to provide financial support to his children.

Men don't contest divorce petitions - that's the rule in the UK. It's partly chivalry and partly financial prudence which stops them doing so. Judges regard petitions as either hilarious or distasteful and rarely pay any attention to them in settling financial and custody matters. But they are nice little earners for solicitors. Which is why we have them.

If you want to divorce your husband or wife, you should not have to damn them in legal language. Nor should you have to wait two years in order to be permitted to behave in a civilised manner.

Adultery? It should not be a ground for a divorce. All other grounds for divorce ("unreasonable behaviour") should be abolished. The only civilised ground for divorce is that someone asks for one.

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