In 1950, according to official statistics, there were 30,870 divorces in the UK. The average age of the husband was 36.6 while the wife was just under three years younger at 33.8.
Fast forward to today and the numbers are very different. According to the Office of National Statistics in 2012 there were 118,140 divorces with the age of the husband at divorce rising to 44.1 while the wife is just over two years younger at 41.8.
It is this time of year when we see a rise in divorces across the UK. Kat and Alfie Moon in EastEnders are just two of the unfortunate couples who seem to head down the divorce route.
Like Kat, the post festive season fallout leads to many couples simple deciding that they no longer want to be together.
This can lead to all sorts of issues especially the legal requirements for a divorce and how it works. This is a simple guide to how divorce works in the UK using Kat and Alfie Moon as the live case study.
Didn’t see the clip? Watch it here:
According to the law of the land, blame is the operative word when it comes to marriage break-ups.
Divorce proceedings cannot begin until one of the parties, called the petitioner, starts proceedings. This means that, legally, either partner will have to find fault with the other for the legal process. In EastEnders, all the signs are there that Kat Moon will in fact be the petitioner and push through the proceedings as quickly as she can.
For those who are fond of TV and programmes like EastEnders, you will often hear the word irreconcilable differences. Please be aware that this is not a legal term. In addition, accusing a partner of cheating is not a way for you to get a larger share of the estate.
There are five reasons a petitioner can cite as a reason for a marriage breakdown. They are:
1. Unreasonable behaviour
3. Separation for two years
5. Separation for five years
Like Kat and Alfie, many marriages end because either or both parties feel their relationship is no longer working. They have simply gone their separate ways and they have fallen out of love. In Kat’s case previous adultery would be a very valid reason.
However, in the absence of any of the above reasons, most couples can put down ‘unreasonable behaviour’ as the primary fault for starting divorce proceedings.
In that case, the petitioner would need to specify the exact reason for this such as lack of support or failing to spend time with family. If Kat and Alfie did not wish to pursue the adultery line, then Kat could make the case for Alfie’s failed business ventures and lack of providing for the family as the main reason. This would fall under the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ column.
Any good divorce lawyer worth their salt should always be advising clients to settle their dispute as amicably as possible. In a divorce case, the last thing any couple want is for the case to drag and drag causing further misery and adding to the costs.
Slander and abuse between the couple is an unfortunate occupational hazard. Therefore, any abuse and hurtful quips by either party should be highlighted very early. One trick is to send these to the respondent or Alfie in our fictitious scenario before it gets to court so that he can approve them. That way, both parties know exactly what to expect and avoids any soap-opera style dramatic twists.
The last thing you want is verbal volleys in court (especially from a loudmouth like Kat Moon!). These hostile exchanges will only lead to more loss and hurt especially when children such as Tommy, Bert and Ernie are involved.
In this instance giving them a ‘no fault’ divorce is probably the wisest option and can lead to a swift and simple resolution for all parties concerned.
Yes she can. In this particular instance, Kat Moon can very easily play the ‘unreasonable behaviour’ trump card on Alfie especially because he tried to carry out a failed arson job on his own house.
It is entirely appropriate for Kat’s divorce petition to be based on the unreasonable behaviour of Alfie. However, a good lawyer for Alfie can easily flip it back and bring Kat’s past indiscretion into play.
In conclusion, the end of a marriage is a very sad day. It is never ever easy especially when two people destined for life call it a day. However, there are ways that it can be ended in an amicable and reasonable manner to avoid as much heartache as possible.
For any clarification on the above issues or just a general chat about EastEnders, please contact Smitta by calling 0116 2999 199 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org