Unlike in the U.S., where “no fault” divorces are now standard in every state, family courts in England still require a finding of spousal misconduct before a divorce will be granted.  Along with adultery or abandonment, an aggrieved spouse may cite “unreasonable behavior” as the grounds for divorce.  According to some lawyers there, this often means that divorcing parties have to exaggerate the daily annoyances of marriage in order to meet the requirement.

An article published in the New York Times last week highlights some of the more ridiculous accusations made in English divorce cases.  They run the gamut from failing to share the remote control to insisting that a pet tarantula sleep in the marital bedroom.

Vanessa Lloyd Platt, an English family law attorney interviewed by the Times, calls the phenomenon “insane” and argues that such accusations should have no place in divorce litigation. She recalls the difficulty she had maintaining a straight face while championing her client’s complaint that her husband wore her clothes and was “stretching out all of her best outfits.”

Ms. Lloyd Platt is not alone in her criticisms. The Times notes that an English family law judge recently argued that there is “no need” for the requirement, which represents “the social values of a bygone age.”  Naturally, the judge’s critique was set forth in a ruling on a divorce in which the husband alleged that the wife repeatedly threw away the husband’s cold cuts (the wife countered said allegation by citing the husband’s failure to appreciate her disdain for “intensely farmed meats”).  Ms. Platt, and other prominent family law attorneys and judges, are now campaigning for reform.

The government considered changing the law back in 1996, but dropped reform efforts due to concerns that a “no fault” standard would make divorce too easy.  One advocate for change says these concerns are misplaced, as a “no fault” system simply takes some of the vitriol out of divorce litigation.  However, a government spokeswoman informed the Times that there are currently no plans to reform English divorce laws.

…a very public divorce plea.

An as yet unidentified individual in Reading, England has chosen a very public medium for her one-item Christmas list.  Says the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper:

With just 12 days to go until Christmas ‘Jude’ decided to spread her own festive message by stringing up a banner alongside the M4 motorway proclaiming: ‘For Xmas Dan, Jude wants a divorce.’

Thousands of motorists blinked in amazement as they passed the huge white bedsheet, daubed with black and red paint, on the busy B-road on the outskirts of Reading, Berks.

Here’s hoping that “Dan” hasn’t already done his Christmas shopping… because this year’s gift may be a bit more expensive than he expected.

In the market for an expensive bauble to commemorate your recent legal decoupling?  You’re in luck.  For the low price of $3,200.00, you can be the proud bearer of an 18k gold “divorce ring.”  The ring features four diamonds, subtly arranged to resemble a stake, and set in the middle of a broken, 14k gold heart.

The perfect way to remember your bitter split forever. 

Via The Stir.

It’s summer, the season of weddings.  Ah, weddings, those meticulously organized displays of love and commitment with all of their conventional trappings:  the white satin dress!  The champagne toasts! The flowers!  The cover bands belting out “We Are Family”!  The buffet lines!

Many weddings today are the result of months – if not years – of stressful planning, and lots of cold, hard cash.  And, for many couples, the much fussed over wedding will be counted among the happiest days of their lives.

Unless of course, you end up in one of those couples that eventually gets divorced.  Party officially over.

In King County, the formal finalization of a divorce is a decidedly unceremonious ceremony.  In most cases, just one of the soon-to-be-legally-split spouses shows up before an ex parte court commissioner, hands him/her the necessary paperwork, and answers a very brief set of hum-drum questions about the amount of time that has passed since the divorce was first filed, as well as the marital assets and debts, the children of the marriage (if any), and other issues that must be dealt before any divorce can be declared final.  After the testimony is given the commissioner hands back the signed final orders, and you are done – officially a single man or woman.  The whole process usually takes less than 10 minutes, and it’s far from festive.

Unless of course, you are one of the 25 or so couples who’ve booked a “divorce ceremony” with a Japanese entrepreneur named Hiroki Terai.  For the low price of 55,000 yen (or about $600.00 US – much cheaper than the typical modern American wedding), Mr. Terai will plan and host your divorce ceremony at his “divorce mansion” in Tokyo.  Your family and friends can look on as you and your not-beloved-anymore make vows to start new and  separate lives, before smashing your wedding rings with a hammer.  Then you may all wine and dine – at separate tables, of course – in celebration of your now-severed nuptials.

Awkward much?  Well, Mr. Terai says that he sees the divorce ceremony as “a positive way to end a marriage and move on by making a vow to restart their lives in front of loved ones.”  And it appears that at least 25 ex-couples agree.  Still, we think it unlikely that you’ll find your social calendar brimming with divorce ceremonies any time soon.

The St. Petersburg Times reports:

A woman has been arrested after accosting her live-in boyfriend with a pink sex toy.


Yes, it’s true. Intoxicated Kimberly Lynn Calvert of Treasure Island, Florida was charged with battery for poking her boyfriend John Anthony Gonzales several times  in the groin.

Naturally, he called 911.

You might think this is an isolated incident, but no and no (weird things from down under).

Lions and tigers and bears …. oh my!

Consequences Of Infidelity, #3 – Yard Signage

We’ve previously reported on two repercussions of extra-curricular activities - twins with different fathers and getting assaulted by the angry spouse 30 years later. Now we  learn of another – yard signage.

Poor Linnie apparently went on a business trip, only to come back to find this in his front yard.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Linnie’s devoted wife placed the order for this sign at the local Office Depot or sign store….

Gender Stereotype Jujitsu

My wife stayed at home with our two kids for about 4 years, before going back to work last year.  Upon getting a 9-5 office job, she was struck by how easy it was, by comparison.

“I get a lunch break! All to myself!” she exclaimed. “When I was at home with the kids I felt lucky if I could take a shower before mid-afternoon.”

Love this comic!

Andy Mizsak of Bedford, Ohio is 28, already a member of his local school board, and an “independent political consultant.”

Sounds like he has a bright future ahead of him.

If only he’d clean up his room. In the basement. Of his parents’ house.

You hope he'll grow up and get neater ... but you never know

Cleveland.com reports that Andy had a fight with his dad over household chores.  Andy threw a plate food across the table, then apparently balled his fist up when his father insisted that the political consultant clean up his room. These are negotiation strategies that may work better when you do not live rent-free at the other party’s expense.

With political compromise seeming out of reach, Andy’s dad took a more direct approach – he just called 911:

The senior Mizsak, 63, wouldn’t press charges and told police, “I don’t want to ruin his political career.” According to the report, he said [that] “Andrew is 270 pounds and he can’t fight him, that they do everything for Andrew and he doesn’t even pay rent.”

According the report, “Andrew was sent to his room to clean it. He was crying uncontrollably and stated he would comply.”


Shanghai (Car Dealer) Surprise

“I have witnessed the tremendous energy of the masses. On this foundation it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever.” – Mao Zedong

1.7 million Chinese folk have downloaded an online video of a woman who basically goes nuts after her husband (or boyfriend; it’s unclear) refuses to buy her the car she wants at a Shanghai dealership. Shanghai is the richest city in China, and Shangainese do have a reputation for conspicuous consumption.

This ain't yer grandma's China

Reuters translates the main points:

“The car doesn’t suit you,” the man tells the woman, to which she answers screaming: “It does suit me!”

“It’s like this each time we go shopping. I’m not buying this car for you!” he counters.

The woman is then seen jumping into and driving the burgundy sedan up and down the showroom, ignoring her frantically gesturing companion and the salesman.

Finally the man gives in, waving his credit card and shouting: “Stop! Stop! I’ll buy it! I’ll buy it!”

“What we have in excess is women. So if you want, we can give a few of those to you, some tens of thousands. Let them go to your place. They will create disasters. That way you can lessen our burden.” – Mao Zedong

(Of course, Mao also famously said “Women hold up half the heavens.”)

Don’t know what I think the moral of this story is, but one comment on the website has this unusual take:

“I admire this lady. In the end she won — that’s the moral of this tale!.”

But won what?

Mao who?

I visited Shanghai back in December 2008 with my four-year old, for a one-day tour. During that long day, I got to know my official tour guide (from the official state tourist agency) a bit.  Over dinner I asked asked him about the apparent contradictions between traditional Communist party philosophy and the recent go-go boom of Southern China.

He looked at me blankly for a moment, then enthusiastically explained that there was no contradiction because, basically, no one paid any attention to communism any more. I asked him what he thought about Mao Zedong’s philosophies.  Nothing, he said, because he had never read anything about them.

Even in school, I pressed? Even in school, he told me.

“Classes struggle, some classes triumph, others are eliminated. Such is history; such is the history of civilization for thousands of years.” – Mao Zedong

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