Though it’s easy to forget living in Los Angeles, where most people have been through at least one divorce, in some parts of the developed world, getting a divorce means that the parties have assess whose fault the breakdown of the marriage is.
Fault finding, a particularly odious trait in anyone, has led to some unusual excuses including body odor, excessive flirting with construction workers and stretching out her clothes as part of a cross-dressing fetish. Why would a country like Britain, whose citizens take particular pride in being civilized, want to resort to such petty discussions in court? Family lawyers are increasingly impatient with the system, but politicians refuse to reform it, distorting the issue as anti-family just because it makes it easier to get a divorce.
Twenty odd years ago, I spent the summer in Greece living with a Greek family as part of a cultural exchange program. My Greek “mother” had a friend whose husband was a philanderer, but in order to get a divorce, she had to prove it in court. They talked about it all summer, and I saw firsthand how humiliating getting evidence was. I thought they were backward, and came home telling my parents how lucky they were to be able to get a divorce at any time, no problem. Sadly, they chose to stay together ten more years and torture us all with their fighting, but at least they had an option had they been wise enough to take it.
Divorce is a painful enough process without having to break the marriage down in a public arena, bad habit by bad habit. I don’t think I would stand up very well – I don’t cook or clean well, I swear like a sailor when I’m stressed or grumpy, I have a bad temper. But I guess I could blame my husband for snoring, growing a beard when I told him I didn’t want him to, or feeding our kids junk food.