Divorce, British Style

There has been much written about the propensity of women in Western society to divorce their husbands for trivial reasons, and almost as much on the fact that the church, in all of its denominations to ignore this, and indeed ignore much of the sexual sin of women within individual churches while all the time blaming men for ‘leading these poor women astray’ or words to that effect.

In my the town where I have made my home, there is a couple of people who are now divorced. The wife had numerous physical affairs during the marriage and eventually kicked the husband out and started divorce proceedings. When the husband started to have a relationship with another woman, before the divorce was final, this wife went to their church leadership team to ask the leadership team to exercise church discipline on him for starting a relationship with another woman and on the woman who is now his wife for having a relationship with a married man. The ex-wife did not get married until such time as the husband had managed to legally stop paying her maintenance (alimony translated into British English) because she had shacked up with her boyfriend in the former matrimonial home. He still had to pay maintenance for his own children, all of who have gone on to higher education and he had no problem with that, but he resented paying for his ex-wife and her boyfriend living at his expense.

I understand that the story I have recounted is an extreme case in the UK, but it is an example of what happens under a no-fault divorce. In Britain, one can only get a divorce on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. That sounds so civilised. The relationship is so far broken down that we cannot put it back together again, Your Honour. In effect, what happens is that because there is no fault found in the court, an equitable split of assets, especially when the breakdown is caused by the partner who stays at home being more of a stray at home than a stay at home, is that the division of assets is inequitable and favours the guilty party.

In this case we have an ex-wife who not only wants to have her cake (new boyfriend and ex-husband subsidising her lifestyle) but want to eat it too in terms of preventing ex-husband forming any sort of meaningful relationship with another person. I do not want to see a woman who has faithfully stood by her husband, bearing his children and keeping home for him destitute if the husband decides when she is 50 and 75 pounds overweight to trade her in for a newer, more attractive model, but equally I do not want to see the behaviour of the serially unfaithful wife I discussed above being rewarded either.

In the long term, we will have to come back to the courts awarding blame to one or other party in order to get properly equitable division of assets. Is the US system, modified to take into account blame going to be the way forward? I look forward to hearing what others have to say.

About UK Fred

A Christian who cares that the church in Britain conforms to societal demands, rather than transforms society. I am particularly concerned with the lack of support for marriage and the acceptance of divorce in the church. I also care that the body politic in Britain seems to be corrupt and in need of a good shake-up.
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