AMAZON boss Jeff Bezos – the world’s richest man – became slightly poorer last week following his divorce from wife MacKenzie.
After handing over a quarter of his fortune to this “extraordinary partner, ally and mother”, he added: “She is resourceful and brilliant and loving and, as our futures unroll, I know I’ll always be learning from her.” She said she was “grateful for the past”.
How refreshing to hear a couple divorcing on such amicable terms.
But then again, when the marital pot holds £114billion, it’s perhaps easier to be magnanimous about who gets what.
Back in the real world, the financial settlement isn’t always so easy to resolve.
Which is why, I fear, the Government’s much-trumpeted initiative to introduce easier, no-fault divorces could, at best, prove a bit of a damp squib that makes little or no difference at all to the level of damage caused to children when their parents’ split turns bitter.
At worst, it could potentially make the situation worse.
There are currently five grounds for divorce: Adultery and unreasonable behaviour, which mean you can start proceedings straight away but require someone to take the blame; the relatively rare desertion; plus divorce after two years of separation if both agree, or after five years if only one agrees.
Don’t be fooled that a quickie no-fault split will make any residual resentment just melt away
But under the proposed change there will be just one ground to divorce — the all-encompassing “irretrievable breakdown” with no “fault” element attached.
If it was being added to the existing grounds as an extra option for couples who, like the Bezos, manage a genuinely easy separation of both emotional and financial matters, then it would make perfect sense.
But making it the only option is, to my mind, a mistake.
Once a court decides you are entitled to be divorced, you receive the decree nisi which signifies your intent to end the marriage, but it isn’t officially all over until the decree absolute is granted. This will remain unchanged under the current proposals.
It’s human nature that instead of a quick, no-fault split, some might want to see their former partner’s cavalier desertion of family duty acknowledged on the divorce petition
And to get that decree absolute, solicitors will advise that you need to have agreed on a financial settlement which, in many cases, is when the “fun” — for which read acrimony, bitterness and lawyer-fuelled recrimination — really begins.
So, imagine your husband (or wife) of ten years runs off with a young colleague, leaving you to hold everything together for the sake of your small children.
Suddenly, they’re enjoying a carefree life of few responsibilities and making the occasional “star parent” visits while you’re elbow-deep in the washing up and doing the school run.
It’s human nature that instead of a quick, no-fault split, some might want to see their former partner’s cavalier desertion of family duty acknowledged on the divorce petition.
But if that’s no longer an option, don’t be fooled that a quickie no-fault split will make any residual resentment just melt away.
On the contrary, it could become the weapon of choice in making the negotiations over money and child access even uglier than they might have been.
MOST READ IN OPINION
MOVING ON UP
PRINCE HARRY reportedly managed to avoid his ex-girlfriend Camilla Thurlow at a film screening last week after organisers hastily rearranged the seating plan.
It’s rumoured that he and Camilla, a former bomb disposal worker who appeared on 2017’s Love Island, enjoyed a brief fling years ago.
So now he’s happily married to Meghan and they have a baby on the way, presumably his ever-protective PR team were keen to avoid any potentially embarrassing encounter.
Mind you, Camilla is now co-habiting with her boyfriend of two years, Jamie Jewitt. So it’s fair to say she’s over it.
An obvious case of moving onwards and most definitely upwards.
IT’S BAG TO THE FUTURE
YOU’D think that a fashion item last seen hanging above the Lycra-clad crotch of Mr Motivator might have been consigned to the never-to-be-repeated files.
But no. Apparently, the bumbag is back.
We know this because it has been spied around the oh-so-hip hips of influencers such as Kylie and Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez.
Fair enough. But how come they’re so famous for being “fashion forward” when, actually, pretty much everything they’re wearing – high-waisted ripped jeans, shell suits, flares and “fanny packs”, as the Americans call them – is a throwback to the Seventies and Eighties?
THE average person forgets their online passwords around 36 times a year, according to new research.
Or in my case, 360.
In the early days of the internet, I started out with a simple, five-letter word that I used for everything.
Then different sites started demanding a capital here, a number there, or a “minimum” of eight letters.
The other day, a shopping site I was trying to sign up to refused all variations of my usual password and suggested an amalgam of words, letters and “special characters” that resembled something from Russell Crowe’s blackboard in A Beautiful Mind.
While trying to access some online blood test results, I was required to register for an official account, which involved providing an answer to three security questions.
It asked me: On what airline did you fly for your first vacation? What is the name of the first politician you refused to vote for? And if you had a magical power, what would it be?
As you ask, I’d like the ability to vaporise stupid questions.
CAROLE’S NO PIECE OF WORK
A FORMER employee at the party supply firm run by the Duchess of Cambridge’s mother Carole Middleton says the “pressure cooker” environment forced him to quit a few years ago.
Another says she didn’t put up tinsel at Christmas, while other moans included Carole emailing them at “7pm or 8pm”, once clicking her fingers at someone, occasionally being curt and sometimes expecting staff to work evenings or weekends when the new catalogue was being produced.
In other words, they were expected to work for a living and it wasn’t always enjoyable. Shocking, huh?
DUBAI spends millions each year on ads to persuade tourists to visit.
“Discover all that’s possible,” boasts the website visitdubai.com, alongside images of families enjoying the sunshine, vast theme parks, high-end shopping malls and luxury hotels.
“All that’s possible”… unless, of course, you drink alcohol without a licence, are seen snogging in public, swear at someone in anger or, as happened to Laleh Shahravesh last week, are facing up to two years in prison for calling your ex-husband’s new wife a “horse” on Facebook.
Other holiday destinations are available.
A GRANDFATHER was sent to prison last February for sexually abusing his granddaughter, but she now says she lied.
However, senior judges at the Court of Appeal have ruled that her original evidence was more believable than her volte-face and that he must stay where he is. Seriously?
After all, in the majority of adversarial legal systems, evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt is the standard required to validate a criminal conviction.
And surely there can be no greater doubt than the “victim” coming forward to say it was something she made up to get attention?