Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Divorce Law Reform

The process of divorce is probably not one most people consider until they have to go through it.  Divorce law has evolved over time and is now a complete jumble.  There are five reasons that one can get a divorce - but not the one that most people would wish - 'because we both want one'.

One of the divorce myths is "irreconcilable differences"  - i think this applied in the USA, but not in the UK.  Divorce has moved away from finding fault  - although this is often achieved by utilising "unreasonable behaviour".  Bizarrely people are told that the reason for the divorce will 99%+ of the time have no influence on financial settlements or arrangements for any children. 

My suggestion is that divorce could be entered into like marriage by mutual consent.  One partner could fill in a form with a sworn statement that they wish to divorce and the other partner could be sent it to sign again with a  sworn statement that they wish to divorce.   As almost no divorces are contested it would allow 99%+ of divorces to start not on grounds of unreasonable behaviour or adultery, but on a neutral footing.

No-one really likes receiving a petition based on their unreasonable behaviour and a very common reaction is, "I'm not having this. I'm going to defend it and issue a petition based on your unreasonable behaviour." In most cases this would be counterproductive, increase costs, delay the whole proceedings and the end result would be the same. So why encourage it ?

Another bizarre feature of divorce is that the person petitioning controls the speed of the process.  In a  recent survey the majority of people says they used delay as a weapon in divorce. This is quite shocking.

Why is it that after a degree nisi is granted - the petition can apply for a degree absolute after 6 weeks but the respondent has to wait four and a half months !
Usually it is because of disputes over financial issues - but the delay rarely resolves the disputes - it just increases costs, stress, aggravation and drags the process out till one partner or other gives up from emotional and or  financial exhaustion.   For people coming to terms with a a break up of a relationship, often coping with being a single parent, working, struggling with legal costs or legal aid, delay is just another cross to bear.

Why no put it on a equal footing - so once the process is started - one side can't drag it out.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Ladykillers

The Ladykillers is one of the most famous ealing comedies.  It help propell a young Peter Sellers to Stardom.

As a film, it is pretty flawless - there is black comedy, menance and fine acting, a great plot a moral tale and social observation.

Recently there has been a stage version of the Ladykillers, written by Graham Lineham, best know for co-scripting the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted.
The play as a fascinating insight into how to transfer a film to the stage.
Largely, Lineham has rewritten the film, partly because of the limitations of the stage and partly i feel, because that is what is needed for it to work well.

The play is fantastically performed and I would say that even though at the performamnce I saw, two of the main charecters were played by understudies - if one hadn't been told, you would never have known.

Professor Marcus was played to perfection by Peter Capaldi -
Ben Miller (of Armstong and Miller) asd Loius and James Fleet (Vicar of Dibley) as the Major, were obviously still having enormous fun playing the parts well into a long run.  The other members of the gang, Harry and One Round got loads of laughs - more than in the film.   Running gags were execlelntly incorporated into the performance.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012