Here in Texas, when we go before the court to prove up a divorce I merely ask my clients, “Has your marriage become insupportable because of discord or conflict that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship?” My client answers “Yes.” Then I ask, “Is there any reasonable expectation of reconciliation?” And my client answers, “No.” Apparently it’s not that simple everywhere.
According to a New York Times Article entitled “Tuna Again? In Fault-Finding Britain, It’s a Cause for Divorce” By Sarah Lyall, Published: April 7, 2012, our British common law progenitors still require divorcing spouses to prove fault before a divorce can be granted, often with hilarious result. One petitioner plead that her husband made her speak to him in Klingon, another plead that “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.”
Social conservatives in the country claim that these charades discourage divorce, in reality they probably only make divorce more costly and painful. Adding one more battleground to fight over, one more weapon for bitter spouses to use against one another has certainly never done anything to help a jurisdiction’s divorce law. I am extremely grateful that I do not have to trump up allegations of fault when my clients just want to get a divorce and keep their private lives off the record. Hopefully Parliament figures this out sooner than later.