Sunday, 10 May 2015

Statistics on Divorce Across the Years

In 1931 there were 3,764 divorces in England and Wales but by 1993 this had increased more than 43 fold to 165,018.

Although and since then the number of divorces a year has decreased (as has the number of marriages), there are still 13 divorces an hour on average in England and Wales! Unlucky for some you may say, but the information extracted from the Office for National Statistics even identifies who those some are likely to be.

It seems that the chances of divorce are greatest between the 4th and 8th wedding anniversaries and that 53% of those who marry in their twenties, divorce before 30 years of marriage. Moreover the average age at which people are likely to divorce is 45 for men and 42 for women.

These and more fascinating statistics can be found in an infographic on the website of Banner Jones, solicitors, and to whom I am grateful for the information quoted.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Power of an X

As Britain goes to the polls today, it is a reminder of the strength of democracy and the power of that X on the ballot paper to define the political direction of a country for the next five years. 

An X can also be used as your mark if you are unable to write; a mathematical symbol; a way of showing affection especially in cards or at the end of messages (I would have said letters but does anyone write those anymore?); an abbreviation; a point on a map, perhaps even for buried treasure.

Say X out loud though and it is somewhat different. Nobody should be defined by their Ex or allow them to hold any power (physical or emotional) over them; the relationship is over. Remember that an X, as opposed to a tick, also means that something was wrong.  

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Dream Job

Separating is a time of major upheaval and perhaps, some might say surprisingly, many take the view that if their life is changing then they may as well go the whole hog and find a new career too. The trouble is that so many end up following well-trodden paths (becoming a lawyer seemed to be a popular one amongst clients I acted for).

Imagine therefore my delight to come across an infographic on dream jobs setting out what the work entails and also what you can expect to earn.

Whilst I have no desire to dress up as Mickey or even  Minnie Mouse, I do confess the prospect of becoming an ice-cream taster (even though I am now happily retired) certainly carries more than a little attraction. Anyone suffering from the effects of a particularly bad divorce may prefer to train as a sommelier; whether they qualify or not,  just trying all that wine during years of training could destroy a few brain cells and help to forget the past (hic..).

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Not Guilty in Hong Kong

Perusing travel guides is something we retired people are apt to do from time to time. It is a long time since I last visited Hong Kong so I was intrigued to read more about it. In so doing I came across an interesting fact. Apparently it is not against the law there for a woman to kill her husband if he has committed adultery, so long as she does so with her bare hands!

Any readers of this blog thinking that they might take advantage of this obvious loophole in the crime of murder should bear in mind that the exception appears to apply to wives only. Further that this post carries the caveat that the writer does not vouch for the accuracy of the information given and anyone taking any steps as a result of it, does so at their own risk! 

However, cheating husbands may be well advised to avoid Hong Kong.

You have been warned!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Election Promises

Is it just me or is this election campaign, more than any other, characterised by grandiose pledges on the part of politicians? Everyone I speak to seems to be responding to what they are reading and hearing with growing cynicism, incredulity, disinterest or even contempt. “They are trying to bribe us, but I don’t believe anything any of them say.”

Even worse is the daily trading of insults and the level of demonisation that is taking place.

On my part I hope that those separating parents who frequently make outrageous promises or seek to vilify their former partner in an effort to persuade their children to shift loyalties, are taking note. Politicians may behave in that manner and are rightly castigated for doing so, parents should never seek to emulate them.

It may be right in a democracy for the electorate to decide. In a family, even a broken one, young children should not be expected to do so. It is for their parents to behave like adults and to make decisions for them, preferably by consensus or after mediation, negotiation or, and only as a last resort, court proceedings. 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Media Melt-Down

There’s nothing better than a good divorce story (except perhaps a fracas over the lack of a hot dinner) to put the media into melt-down. Yesterday was one of those days when the Supreme Court confirmed that Kath Wyatt is properly entitled to pursue a claim for financial provision against her ex-husband, Dale Vince, notwithstanding the fact that they are reported to have separated and then divorced some 30 and 23 years ago respectively.

Despite speculation in the press, she is, of course, unlikely to receive a substantial share of the millions, all accumulated by Mr Vince since their separation and, therefore, falling outside of the definition of matrimonial assets.

The case, however, serves as a salutary reminder of the importance of dealing with financial issues at the time of a divorce. Even when matters are amicable and a couple agrees that there are to be no further claims by either of them against the other, a consent order dismissing those claims is needed. I have known clients who have baulked at the additional cost of obtaining such but, as I have inevitably explained, it is like paying for an insurance policy. In so many cases the risk can even lie in the potential cost and aggravation of a subsequent claim rather than the outcome; far better, therefore, to tie up all loose ends and close the door with a clean break order where possible.

Of course, and as a result of this case, there may be some who will now potentially hedge their bets and prefer to leave the door ajar, ready to be pushed open should their ex ever reap a fortune. Woe betides them, however, if lady luck turns and it is they rather than their former half who accumulates that pot of gold.

Sunday, 22 February 2015


This month we have learned of the sad demise of Michele Ferrero, the Italian inventor of Nutella, the tasty chocolate spread that both Apprentice Man and Little Girl would always try to add to my supermarket trolley when they were young enough to find grocery shopping an adventure.

It has also been reported that a French court has refused to allow parents to name their daughter Nutella. Some might regard that as a victory for common sense; others as unwarranted interference by the state.

I was surprised to learn that a country which I have long associated with liberty should have a law that essentially restricts free choice in the naming of one’s child. Here in the UK our laws relating to the registration of births are far more liberal and generally only names deemed offensive would be prohibited.

However, it seems that fortunately most parents are sensible and the selection of offbeat names is reserved for the offspring of certain celebrities. So last year Sophia, Emma and Olivia topped the list of most popular girls’ names and there was not a Nutella, Marmite or Plum Jam in sight.

Imagine however the ambiguity that would arise were it ever to become common to designate sandwich fillings as children’s names. “Don’t forget Peanut Butter,” could have all manner of hidden consequences and were the idea of using spreads as names to catch on, it presumably would not be long before we would find both Wide and Bed in the front row of the Reception Class too.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Pub Landlord's Family Friendly Policies

It looks like we are gearing up for one of the longest election campaigns ever . However, news that Al Murray’s The Pub landlord will be contesting the South Thanet seat, as too will Nigel Farage, has certainly added some joviality to the proceedings and will no doubt continue to do so.

Clearly The Pub landlord  has been formulating  his policies for some time and I was delighted to learn that he does have some pro-family views. Indeed it was reported in The Guardian that he thinks it would be good for the country if everyone was obliged to turn off their internet connection from Friday evening until Monday morning to avoid “drunk tweeting” and “vengeful e-mails to the ex.”

Obviously I know that I am probably even more na├»ve than The Pub Landlord when it comes to politics, nevertheless I can’t help thinking:  what a good idea!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Pigeonhole Books

I was recently interviewed by Pigeonhole Books. It creates children’s books for 21st families. The stereotypical nuclear family is no longer necessarily the norm and the aim of these books is to introduce the different kinds of families that are becoming more and more common-place with a view to informing and breaking down barriers.

It is also seeking to create a resource for readers in search of bloggers who write about modern-day parenting  and features blogs that hone in on parenting after divorce, step parenting, co-parenting, same-sex parenting, blended families and multicultural/interracial families.

Its website may only be new but already it is well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Rat Pack

Last week contractors undertook work to the field drains next door to us. In so doing they presumably disturbed the rats which must nest there, as this week the greenhouse at the bottom of our garden has been visited.

This in turn has given rise to a challenge for Outdoor Man to rid our premises of the rodents.

It was in language reminiscent of a description of the perpetrator of domestic violence that he referred to the stinking rats and vermin as he sought my opinion.

I had to confess that I did not think that the expertise I had acquired in obtaining ouster orders during my practising years would assist to any extent. It seems, however, that he was not considering an injunction and really wanted my view on the different types of rat poison.

Why ever would he think that a retired divorce solicitor would be an expert on toxic substances?