Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wunna These Days, Alice . . .

The course of true love is never smooth. Even so, English divorce law has not yet achieved the enlightenment of its American counterpart - no-fault divorce is not yet accommodated in British jurisprudence. Which naturally opens up all sorts of theatrical potential.

Under current law, divorces are granted only under one of five categories, including adultery and abandonment. About half of the cases fall within a broad category, unreasonable behavior, in which one party must accuse the other of acting in such a way that living together becomes intolerable.

". . . ta da moon!"

As a story in the New York Times has it, this requirement is often occasion either for a very public airing of petty marital grievances or some creative fictionalizing. To get divorced, many couples in court exchange tales against one another that are often unrelated in content, preposterous, petty. Vanessa Lloyd Platt, a London divorce lawyer, has compiled a list of some of the odder accusations of fault she and her colleagues have encountered in divorce petitions, to wit:
  • The husband who accused his wife of spitefully tampering with the TV antenna and throwing away his cold cuts. She said he usurped her control of the washing machine and failed to appreciate her revulsion for “intensely farmed meat.” ( . . . because the meat was "intensely farmed," or because it contained lips and snouts?)
 "I know it's pink, but it's not that slimey!"
  • The woman who sued for divorce because her husband insisted she dress in a Klingon costume and speak to him in Klingon. (Frankly, madam, I don't see a problem here.)
 "Sorry, no annual sex."
  • The man who declared that his wife had maliciously and repeatedly served him his least favorite dish, tuna casserole. (Divorce seems preferable to being brought up for attempted mercury poisoning.)
"I'm not catering to your whims - it's either tuna casserole or pink slime."

  • The woman who said her husband had not spoken to her for 15 years, communicating only by Post-it note. (Frequently seen eating together in restaurants.)
  • The man whose wife “would without justification flirt with any builder or tradesman, inappropriately touching them and declaring that she could not stop herself.” ("He was hung like a window sash!")
  • The respondent who insisted that "his pet tarantula, Timmy, sleep in a glass case next to the matrimonial bed,” even though his wife requested “that Timmy sleep elsewhere.” 
(Timmy, out of his glass case)
There were complaints about husbands with atrocious body odor, and others who changed the channels too fast. “The respondent husband repeatedly took charge of the remote television controller, endlessly flicking through channels and failing to stop at any channel requested by the petitioner."

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