Thursday, 13 December 2012


Blackpool Tower at night
Originally uploaded by

Blackpool, home of the seaside holiday and famed for its Tower, rock and Pleasure Beach, now has another claim to glory. Figures released from the 2011 census show it to be the divorce capital of England and Wales. Yes, London might be the divorce capital of the world but Blackpool has a higher number of divorced people than anywhere else in the country.
The statistics from the census show that 9% of people are divorced, but in Blackpool the percentage is 13.1.

So what is it about this seaside town “up north” that results in so many divorces? Punch and Judy might still perform on the beach but one would expect the adult population to be too mature to fall under their influence. Further and whilst the town may play host to the political party conferences we surely can’t blame the MPs for this one as well as every other anomaly in society.

It seems we don’t need to. Inside sources tell me it could be the fault of the Illuminations. By lighting the town up from September to November each year, the indiscretions of amorous couples are noted by everyone passing down the Golden Mile. Sharing chips in the moonlight was never the most romantic of gestures but when it’s not your spouse you’re sharing with and you are lit up in a glorious technicolour spectacle, there is a potential to add to the statistics.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


The next couple of weeks are the Office Party Season, followed, of course, by Christmas, before moving into January which statistically is the most likely month to instruct a divorce lawyer. Is there any connection, other than the intervening Christmas period between the party fun and the miseries of separation and divorce?
It is certainly not uncommon for the antics at the Office Party to be quoted as instances of unreasonable behaviour for inclusion in a subsequent divorce petition.
So how can you guard against this?
Well here are ten tips for surviving the Office Party with your marriage (and dignity) intact:
1.      What do you wear? Nothing revealing or tight fitting. In fact consider keeping your coat on and buttoned all evening.
2.      How long do you spend preening yourself?  You don’t – just a quick hand wash, comb through your hair and you’re done. Oh and definitely no exotic fragrances, although if desperate you could try a spray from the nearest air freshener aerosol.
3.      Do you meet your mates in the pub first? A definite no here too I’m afraid. Get your spouse to drive you to the venue and, as you pass the pub, mention casually how everyone else was meeting there for a few drinks beforehand. That way you will at least have earned a few Brownie points, in the event that things go wildly wrong later.
4.      What do you drink? No doubt about the answer to this one: orange juice; yes, I repeat orange juice.
5.      What do you eat? Easy, see the response to question 8 below, but essentially as many cheese and onion crisps and pickles as you can muster.
6.      Can you dance?  Yes, it is a night to enjoy, although you must ensure that your partner is the oldest person in the room, regardless of gender.
7.      How do you avoid getting caught in that embarrassing shot by one of the many mobile phone cameras that will be flashing all night? Connect only with colleagues over 65 years of age and give everyone else the cold shoulder if you need to, although hopefully the hints so far will help resolve this dilemma anyway.
8.      You are conscious that Mel in accounts , inebriated by the effects of alcohol and your charms and sheer charisma, will try to get you to share little intimacies, vampire style. Well if you are sure that despite the precautions taken so far you are going to be irresistible then go on an onion and garlic diet for three days beforehand. Top your perfumed breath up with the pickles and cheese and onion crisps when you get there.
9.      What time do you leave? At precisely 10.30pm to get home for 11pm. Keep reminding yourself that you’ll turn into a pumpkin and find your pyjamas neatly folded and stored in the freezer ready to wear, if you don’t.
10.   What do you say about the party when you get home? The truth: it was a bore, everyone else drank too much and behaved outrageously and next year you think you might as well stay in and watch other people partying on television instead. Your spouse won’t believe you but you will still have a home to come back to in January.

Monday, 3 December 2012


Just a quick reminder to all those men who participated in Movember that it is now over. It is a great cause; it was brilliant of you to get involved and I hope you raised lots of money for men’s health charities. However, those who fail to remove any offending hair growth that is not to their wife’s liking, risk her keeping that pre-Christmas appointment at her lawyer’s office.
Frankly I do not want to hear again this year:
“It’s like being married to the partridge in the pear tree, all those feathery whiskers on his face.”
“He thinks he’s Bruce Forsyth but the only similarity is the cuddly toy, and in his case it’s sitting above his top lip rather than on a conveyor belt.”
“If he dyed the moustache green, hung a bauble at each side and put a fairy on his head, he’d look like the Christmas tree in your Reception.”

“He began by thinking he looked like Johnny Depp; now he’s disintegrated into Long John Silver with a budgie on his shoulder instead of a parrot.”
Please guys, it’s all part of the deal: shave it off.

Friday, 30 November 2012


With the publication of the Leveson Report, and the Prime Minister and his deputy opposing each other over its implementation, I thought readers might be interested in gaining greater insight into the situation from the perspective of a pending family law case. Totally coincidentally, it is called C v C (L Intervening) and I cannot imagine that it will ever be reported or commented upon outside of this blog.
The facts seem to be that C and C formed an uneasy partnership a couple of years ago, bringing their various offspring  to the relationship. Some of these have since left the House and one, Nadine, was curiously found living in a jungle in Australia. Indeed her father sought to explain that with reference to her being expelled, as I understand it, from a children’s tea party.
C and C have also had two children of their own. Following the modern convention for giving children completely bizarre names (only this week media reports have referred to Chlamydia and Hashtag), they named them Gutterpress and Freepress. An act in itself which raised the eyebrows of the Director of the local Children's Services Department (known only as L).
C and C are struggling to keep their lively brood in check. There is a complete mismatch of parenting skills with scopes for dispute and hostility growing within the House. C and C, it is argued, are both losing control and it is feared that the situation will worsen.
Children’s Services have been actively involved with this family for some time. L is recommending that Gutterpress be removed under a care order so that Freepress can flourish, albeit with a supervision order in place . C and C are in agreement as to the removal of Gutterpress but there is a clear gulf  between them as to how exactly Freepress should  be supervised. Having agreed to follow the recommendations of L unless completely bonkers, there is now concern as to why there should be any dispute.
Urged on by Freepress, however, her father is standing firm. A case conference has failed to resolve matters and now court proceedings have been instituted. L has intervened so that his report can be considered in full, but we can expect this case to roll on for some time.
In the meantime Nadine has been returned to the UK and placed with foster parents pending a meeting next week to assess whether or not she can be reunited with her family.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


On our recent trip to Morocco we regularly found ourselves strolling through the souks in Marrakech. What would take a few minutes to purchase at home, takes much longer there when you have to barter over the price of every item. Outdoor Man and Little Girl were initially reluctant to throw themselves wholeheartedly into this unique shopping experience. I was less inhibited and could only put it down to my experience as a divorce lawyer.
“You mean you haggle over houses and belongings,” Little Girl snorted in disgust, as I exchanged dirhams for a leather bag.
“It’s called negotiation,” I pointed out in response.
“Ridiculous,” she replied.
How blunt teenagers are I thought and the trouble, of course, was that she was right.
Now I appreciate that it might not be entirely appropriate to ask a vendor in the souk to be open and transparent with me but it is probably no more ridiculous than to expect a married couple to take up extreme positions and then seek to bargain their way to a compromise. As with the shop-seller there is always scope for a settlement lurking somewhere in between the two and haggling to get there only delays the inevitable and, in the case of marriage breakdown, add to feelings of mistrust and bitterness.
Collaborative law offers a genuine alternative for couples who are prepared to work together in a controlled and constructive way, to avoid posturing and the adoption of unreasonable positions. It isn’t suitable for everyone but it is an option that many clients should consider and discuss with their lawyers before deciding on the best route for securing a settlement in their own case. Whilst I doubt it will ever catch on in the markets of North Africa (and I do not intend to be the first to ask a vendor there to exchange anchor statements and sign a participation agreement before we agree on the price for a hand-woven carpet) it is already becoming a common process here in the UK.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


So your husband has cheated on you, added insult to injury by lying about it, and has broken his promise to make amends by coming home early every night. Sounds familiar but what do you do about it, other than instruct a divorce lawyer?
Sometimes these transgressions are hard to forgive and do lead down the road of permanent separation. Often, however, couples are looking for a way to forgive and forget but when trust has been broken, it isn’t always possible.
A new client recently told me that she had the answer. “He is going to eat carrots,” she said.
“A rather unusual punishment,” I thought as she continued to add to the list of culinary delights: potatoes, cabbage, lentils, chick peas, rice, peas, tomatoes, cucmber and lettuce.
“It does sound very vegetarian,” I murmured.
“Exactly,” she replied, handing me a text book from an Indian school called “New Healthway” and stabbing her finger at a paragraph.
Meat-eaters easily cheat, lie, forget promises and commit sex crimes", it read.
So there you have it ladies. All those pork chops and roast beef dinners, you thought were the way to his heart have actually been having the opposite effect! Needless to say educationalists in India are trying to get the book removed from school shelves.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


I have just returned from a holiday in Morocco. It is a country that I hadn’t visited since 1978. Like most places there have been many changes. The last time I was there I recall that my travelling companions were offered 3,000 camels for me by a rather bizarre gentleman.
Thirty four years later, as Outdoor Man put it, “There was no such luck!”
He wasn’t even offered a camel’s tooth, which, I guess, places me very firmly in the dromedary’s dung heap of life.
Well it has had me wondering. I mean if camels were a generally acceptable trading commodity would it make divorce settlements easier or not? I can’t imagine many people willingly offsetting pension claims for desert caravans and would the needs of the recipient be increased by having to provide food, shelter and sand dunes for them? Could either party object to a particular beast on the basis that its halitosis really was unbearable? How would they be counted and valued? Would there be scope to wander the Sahara abacus in hand? If so, would it be to count beasts or humps?

I don’t think I’ll ever complain about the lot of the English divorce lawyer or the humble seaside donkey again.

Monday, 29 October 2012


I received a press release recently for Vendease, a company promoting the use of vending machines which it seems have sparked a “new era of convenience shopping”
 “Fifteen years ago, few of us would have considered buying a pair of jeans online or ordering the weekly shop, let alone booking a holiday or virtually viewing a house.
 “These days the world of online consumerism is an essential element of our 24-hour, instant-
access lifestyle.
 “Doubters said it would never catch on – people wanted to touch products before they decided to buy, they wanted a personal service and a tailored customer experience. Clearly
not. Deloitte’s Store of the Future report (March 2012) predicts that four out of ten shops will close down in the next five years as shoppers turn their backs on the high street in favour of the online marketplace.
 “Part of the success of online shopping is down to technological advances and retailers’ response to what customers demand. 360 degree views, super zooms, interactive tours and even no quibble returns policies have helped make online shopping a viable alternative to the real world high street.
“A similar revolution is happening in the vending industry where the days of clunky, coin-rejecting drinks machines that needed a well aimed thump are well and truly behind us.
 “In Japan, where there is one vending machine for every 23 people, you can buy anything
from music to live crabs. Following the earthquake of March 2011 when the country was crippled by blackouts, some even said vending machines offered a lifeline to residents.
 “Here in the UK, we’re starting to see the advantages too. Each year, 7 billion products arevended in the UK and the range and variety of what’s on offer is staggering – swimming goggles in leisure centres, protective clothing on the factory floor, toiletries in hotel lobbies and SIM cards at airports. Don’t worry, you can still buy a hot drink, but instead of coffee flavoured water in a flimsy cup, you’ll get a frothy cappuccino from a machine that can grind its own beans.
 “Dave Berman, director of VendEase, said: “Vending machines offer instant, 24 hour access in an age where convenience is King. Today’s machines are sophisticated and secure and businesses are switching on to the benefits for their customers and their staff.”
Okay I get the message. Forget my nicely decorated office, the comfortable chairs, cups of coffee and piped music; clients would rather I squeezed myself into a little machine in the middle of the Cornmill Shopping Precinct and handed out legal advice in return for coins pushed at me through a slot. Let’s just hope there really is no longer any need for that well-aimed thump referred to in the release!

Friday, 26 October 2012


Last weekend, one couple married at a Star Trek Convention in London. They were apparently Klingons, although press reports suggest they had actually flown in from Sweden. They had full ceremonial dress and, of course, all the Trekkie props and paraphernalia. It did set me wondering though as to what Klingons do to divorce.
After undertaking Internet research to establish that Klingons are fight- loving creatures who mate through something akin to a domestic battlefield, I learned that they usually mate for life.  Well, that solved the divorce conundrum anyway and also explained their name: “cling on!”

Friday, 19 October 2012


Many marriages breakdown when a couple discover that they simply aren’t compatible. Compatibility doesn’t, of course, mean that you both have to like the same things; sometimes it can be a question of complementing each other.

For instance Outdoor Man loves cooking and I enjoy eating; you get the picture? Moreover when he cooks chicken, I get to eat the dry but tender breast, he loves the juicy and, so he believes, tastier drumsticks.

When you can’t share food as we do, differences can cause real wedges (and we’re not talking potatoes here). Take the case reported by Nehanda Radio this week of Zimbabwean, Mr Ncube, who became enraged when his wife ate the whole of the chicken breast, back and a thigh. He delivered her a beating but rather than finding himself in trouble with the law, it was his wife who appeared before the tribal court. Apparently local tradition requires that the tastiest parts of the chicken must be eaten by the man of the house. Sadly for Mrs Ncube she had eaten her husband's portion; hers was the entrails.

Both she and her grandmother, who had failed to teach her granddaughter how to properly share chicken with her husband, were fined a whole chicken apiece and now Mr Ncube is allegedly threatening divorce should his wife try the same trick again.

Monday, 15 October 2012


The results of two health studies were given publicity today. So much so that, as a result of the report that concluded sitting down is bad for you and of a second that found happier people live longer, I am bringing this blog to you standing up as well as with a chuckle or two.

Of course the results are a potential double blow for separating couples, who inevitably end up divorcing sitting down and, understandably, are rarely at their most happy.

Perhaps divorce is time for that exercise class or gym membership after all. Also if in receipt of maintenance and feeling embittered, remember that being fit, healthy and living longer means your spouse pays maintenance for longer too!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


According to various reports, Katy Perry, who separated from Russell Brand last year and was divorced in July, is planning to celebrate her forthcoming birthday with a divorce party. It’s not a course I would recommend. Believe me, whilst it may avoid the need for you to blow out a multitude of candles atop a heavily decorated cake, the presents aren’t nearly as good!

Thursday, 4 October 2012


The problem for many people going through divorce or separation can be how to let friends and family know. For others it can be how to quell the rumours, gossip and pure speculation. It seems that one innovative Japanese company may have come up with the answer: The Divorce Newspaper . Yes Rikonshiki will take all the details; put them into newspaper format for approval and then undertake a print run ready for distribution.

Just one shortcoming: will anyone believe anything written in a newspaper?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Tales of flying saucepans, knives and tableware, all thrown in the heat of the moment, can be among the regular confidences entrusted to a family lawyer. “It’s enough to make you put a helmet on your head,” a colleague once said to me, “Or at least duck.”

The news story today of the lady sentenced by the court for hitting her partner with a rolling pin was another version of a familiar tale. Trouble was it doesn’t sound as though she was baking at the time, or there was no mention of a flour dusting if she was; just a bloodied nose as she extracted her revenge for her partner's text message from another woman.


This week has been declared Family Dispute Resolution Awareness Week. Why and what is its relevance in the North East?

The overwhelming majority of people in the North East believe that putting children’s interests first or avoiding conflict are the most important factors if going through divorce, according to a new survey from Resolution, the national family law association.

Four out of five (80%) say that putting children’s interests first would be their most or second most important consideration in a divorce, and half (47%) would prioritise making the divorce as conflict-free as possible.

Despite this, over four-fifths of people (83%) believe that children end up being the main casualties of divorce, and 44% believe that conflict is inevitable in separation and divorce. Despite the increasing availability of non-court alternatives, nearly half (46%) think that most divorces involve a visit to court.

In stark contrast to some of the high-profile divorce cases in recent years, financial factors are not seen as particularly important, with just 1% saying that being financially better off than their partner would be the most important consideration should they divorce.

These findings highlight how people have good intentions to prioritise the well-being of children and to avoid conflict during separation, but this can often be derailed by a lack of knowledge of non-court based options and an exposure to the adversarial nature of courts. Something is going very wrong, and often the result is emotionally and financially drained parents, and deeply distressed children.

The survey was conducted to mark Family Dispute Resolution Week, which started yesterday and is being held to raise awareness of non-confrontational methods of resolving family breakdown, such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.

As part of the week, Resolution is launching a new advice guide, ’Separating Together: Your options for separation and divorce’, designed to help separating couples understand and explore non-court based methods of resolving issues arising on the breakdown of a relationship.

These methods can help prevent separation and divorce from being needlessly adversarial, and often can benefit the whole family through fairer settlements and by prioritising the interests of children.

The survey results come at an important time for family law in England and Wales. The most recent statistics show a rise in divorce rates; and the family courts are facing the strain.


Monday, 20 August 2012


I was lucky to be able to attend the Olympic Games’ Closing Ceremony. Before going out on live TV, it began with a timely warning to anyone who was there with someone they ought not to be.

“This ceremony is to be broadcast live to 3 billion viewers, if you are sitting next to somebody you don’t want to be caught on camera with, move now!” or words to that effect.

Needless to say for the next 10 minutes whenever anybody did get up it was always with a loud indication that they were off to buy a bottle of water, as those around them looked on smugly.

Fortunately I see that across in Canada an event is being organised for 21st September where there is no such shame: “The Divorce Party.” It seems you can even attend if you’re single or attached but want to support a friend (I wonder how many used that excuse for the Olympics' closing night?).

Monday, 30 July 2012


The Olympics' Opening Ceremony continues to cause controversy with some insisting that it was a leftist political statement, others that it was cringe worthy and yet more claiming it was an enjoyable portrayal of “Britishness,” eccentricities and all.

In my capacity as a divorce lawyer can I just highlight the fact that it bore all the hallmarks of a wedding! Entitled a ceremony there were rings, there were vows, there were rich and poor, sickness and health, and the lighting of an eternal flame.

Any wonder I am now holding my breath for the closing ceremony. I have a premonition that it is going to be right up my street!

Monday, 23 July 2012


There are occasions when a topic on Twitter has a particular nexus with this blog. Last week I noticed that  “How to keep a relationship with me” was trending. Of course I had to have a peep and in so doing established a repetition of themes as well as some unique ideas. Accordingly and in reverse order, I share them with you:
1.     Be honest and never lie to me.
2.     Be faithful; don’t cheat on me.
3.     Respect and trust me.
4.     Accept me as I am and don’t nag.
5.     Communicate with me.
6.     Make an effort.
7.     Do the little things and show you care.
8.     Be reliable and trustworthy.
9.     Bring me Gummy Bears.
10.  Save me from spiders.

Friday, 13 July 2012


I confess to having neither knowledge of nor interest in pornography. Indeed I naively assumed that “Fifty Shades of Grey” with a sequel called “Fifty Shades Darker” was about the ageing process and hair dye. As a result of the recent hype, I now know that I was wrong.

Divorce lawyers, as you can imagine, are told all manner of things by their clients. It is therefore only by those confidences that I know anything about porn. Moreover, my own limited experience would suggest that accessing it can and does form the basis of unreasonable behaviour for the purposes of divorce. However, and although I have never actually undertaken a statistical survey, I’m fairly sure that I have only ever been involved in cases where the wife has made such allegations against the husband.

When I first started out in my career, I recall that behaviour of this kind took place on Saturday mornings by dirty men in macs huddled near a top shelf display in a newsagent’s. Subsequently there were repeated instances of “lads’ mags” and photographs stashed under a bed or in another discreet part of the family home. Then the internet boom arrived and the allegations related solely to what husband had been looking at on the family p.c.

Now my whole past experience is under challenge. The trilogy of books about Christian Grey and his sado-masochistic goings-on, is described as beyond erotica and into the realms of pornographic. Nevertheless the books are apparently being read almost exclusively by women; an awful lot of women if the sales figures are a reflection of the readership level.

So what do men think about this turn-round? Clearly there are many who do not approve. This week we have even learned about a man being convicted in court for common assault when he felt it wrong that his partner was one of those millions of readers. Mind his reaction was, shall we say, somewhat unusual in that he chose to spray her with brown sauce!

Personally, I am unlikely to find the time or inclination to read the books (and if I do, it will be purely in the pursuit of research). However, and in case Outdoor Man suddenly develops a sauce fetish of his own, I suppose I’d better look to emptying our pantry of all the usual condiments!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


It is well established that separation and divorce are extremely stressful with some people taking years to recover. Stress itself leads to all kinds of physical symptoms and many bear their invisible scars stoically as life continues. There are, some marks however that cannot be hidden, and, for those who have succumbed to the tattooist’s art, declarations of deep and unending love cannot easily be removed when a relationship ends.

However it was reported today that one enterprising young man tackled his tattoo head on. He arranged to have a second; a line went through his ex-partner’s name inked into his back and underneath he had inscribed those immortal words: “Sh*t Happens”

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


I see Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have issued a joint press release confirming that they have reached an agreement to settle their divorce and are working together as parents to agree arrangements for their 6 year old daughter. Hopefully this signifies a civilised and dignified end to what has, of course, been a very high profile marriage. A marriage where the publicity surrounding it owed much to the films each party has been involved in, as reflected in the following potted history:

They began as “The Romantics,” vowed “Endless Love” and then Katie had a “First Daughter.”

Sadly, however, Tom’s third attempt at marriage proved to be “Mission Impossible,” when we’re told Katie came to view Tom’s commitment to scientology as “Disturbing Behaviour” and decided she had to “Abandon” their home in California and “Go” “Far and Away” to New York.

It seems Tom must have had his “Eyes Wide Shut” because he was apparently unaware that he was “Losin’ It” and that his relationship was like “Shattered Glass.” “Legend” has it that “Top Gun” became a “Rain Man” overnight and “Days of Thunder” “Hitting it Hard” followed.

Fortunately we have been spared “The Ice Storm” or a “War of the Worlds.” Agreement has been reached, potentially for "Mad Money." Hopefully Katie will now agree that Tom can see their daughter “Without Limits” and avoid the need for a “Minority Report” or indeed any other investigation into their suitability as parents. If so, Tom will at least be able to maintain a relationship with his daughter under a “Vanilla Sky” rather than seeing it fade into “Oblivion”

All of which only leaves one niggling issue: where did “Batman Begins” fit in?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


The Church of England’s response to the Government’s proposals on gay marriage has been widely reported today. Despite some of the reports by the media, the full response appears to be rational, clearly argued and even to someone with no religious sympathies not without substance. Insofar, however, as the Church is worried that gay marriage will undermine its own status, I don’t suppose it can be shored up with gay divorce? After all isn’t it the Church of England that can trace its roots back to Henry VIII’s desire for a divorce.
One of the concerns is clearly that the Church of England’s role as the state Church will diminish. The role of the Anglican clergy includes performing marriage ceremonies for any eligible parishioners who seek such. The problem it fears is that if the law is changed and it then denies the right to marry in Church to a gay parishioner who otherwise fulfils all the other criteria, it may find itself at the wrong end of a Human Rights' challenge and ultimately lose its privileged position as the Church of state.

It is ironic that a state Church created by legislation to allow a king to divorce, could be ended by legislation to allow commoners to marry.

Monday, 11 June 2012


My thanks to BBC Radio Tees which likes my voice enough to have invited me onto its mid-morning show for the second time in 10 days.

This morning the discussion centred around a report published by Michigan State University based on data collected in the UK which states that married people are on average happier than they would have been if they hadn’t got married. Apparently happiness levels of unmarried individuals decline as they get older whereas for married couples they remain stable!

It hardly sounds like the greatest advert marriage has ever had! Moreover, what better way to spoil the limited feel-good factor it engenders than by asking a divorce lawyer to comment on the increasing number of over-fifties who have seen their marriages break down?


Tuesday, 29 May 2012


The Redneck Games (an alternative to the Olympics for those who like their competitions to be a little more “earthy”) took place in East Dublin, Georgia at the weekend. With events such as Water Melon Seed Spitting, Bobbin for Pigs’ Feet and an Armpit Serenade, it must have been as big a sell out as London 2012. From the pictures I’ve seen, the gusto with which contestants threw themselves into the mud-pit created for belly-flopping was certainly commendable. I particularly liked the competitor captured on camera participating in her wedding dress. If it wasn’t for the fact that her husband flopped with her, I’d have been persuaded that it was a symbol of a poignant end to a marriage, as opposed to of jumping in at the deep end

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Politicians have come up with an ingenious plan to solve the scourge of divorced women. They are arranging marriages; with the enticement of a payment courtesy of an entrepreneur and traditional wedding gifts provided by local government. You have to share your wedding ceremony with a few hundred other people, but otherwise the only snag, depending which side of the fence you are on, is that there’s a pre-condition making divorce this time around just a little harder.

No, before you gasp with disbelief, can I just impress that this initiative is taking place in Nigeria and not here. Over there divorce is rising and with the ability to divorce one’s wife by simply reciting under Sharia law “I divorce you,” three times, one might say it is little wonder. In the absence of tax credits and income support, thousands of divorced women and their children have found that their blood relatives have been unable to assist them and inevitably have ended up begging on the streets.

In these hard pressed times, one, of course, does wonder if our current government with its commitment to saving the institution of marriage and cutting state-benefits, might be tempted to introduce something similar here. Or, am I just being too cynical?