It has to be said.
One my favourite decluttering books is Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever. A few years back I ‘kondoed’ (yes, she is now a verb) my whole house and rid myself of anything that failed to ‘give me joy’.
That is the only requirement Kondo has to keep an object – does it give you joy? So out went all those size 8 dresses I finally accepted I could never, post three children, fit into again. The paperwork, the old work suits, the books – it was a massive clear-out necessitating many trips to the charity shop. Boy, did that feel good.
Very soon, this ‘Conservative’ government will give us divorce Kondo-style. Should your spouse no longer give you joy you can toss him or indeed her out, along with all those old jumpers and size 8 little black dresses. Classy.
It was announced on Saturday that ‘fault-based divorce is set to be scrapped as the biggest shake-up of family laws in 50 years seeks to end the “blame game” between couples.
‘Spouses would also lose the right to contest the breakdown of a marriage under plans being drawn up by David Gauke, the justice secretary.’ A consultation paper will follow. One must consult with the citizenry before further degrading said citizenry – that is an absolute essential.
Isn’t that just spiffing, dear reader? One spouse would still have to claim that the marriage had irretrievably broken down, but as long as they wait a minimum six months for separation, as I said, out the other spouse goes and she can take her terrible CD collection with her.
As the Times says, ‘At present a spouse who wants to file for divorce must either provide evidence that their partner has committed adultery, behaved unreasonably or deserted, or wait two years if both sides agree or five if they do not.’ Post-reform, these pesky issues will not have to proved.
Most couples agree these days, but two years is an awesome burden to have to impose upon couples to wait, never mind that they had previously promised to have and to hold, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health until death do them part. But sure, we all know that was only a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo and that vows are not worth the paper they are written on. Do keep up.
We are told by Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the former Conservative lord chancellor whose Family Law Act 1996 scrapping fault-based divorce was enacted but never brought into force, that the divorce-on-demand revolution – the Kondo divorce regime if you will – is necessary because ‘the present divorce ground of unreasonable behaviour requires allegations that are hardly ever challenged and often exaggerated by one spouse against the other, which tends to exacerbate the breach of relations between them. Where there are children, it also renders more difficult agreeing arrangements for them.’ I have yet to see any firm evidence that this exaggeration of the details really does trash the relations between the divorcing spouses but none of this seems to matter any more.
Just to be clear, this could mean that a perfectly blameless spouse could find him or herself divorced and perhaps out of the house and without the kids in less time than it takes most people to change their bank accounts.
If the other spouse has seen something hotter on Tinder and feels current spouse is a little bit irritating, just not worth the hassle any more, he or she can claim the marriage has irretrievably broken down and bam, the irritating spouse is back on the singles market. And the hottie is in your house laughing at your CD collection.
I do believe that under this proposal it will be harder to get out of your contract with Netflix than wriggle out of the marriage vows you made to your spouse. But then that makes sense – most of us these days probably spend more time with Netflix than with our spouse.
Perhaps the great reformers know what they are doing.