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Too Poor to Break Up

Category : Global Divorce, Global Marriage

I read an interesting article in The New York Times today.  A couple in Spain was desperate to get divorced.  The wife had met and fallen in love with another man and her husband had lost his job.  They were struggling to make ends meet and couldn’t sell their house.  They were stuck in this dire situation for over two years! 

Sadly, this has become a frequent problem in Spain because the economy has gotten so bad there.  But this is also a problem in the US.  Many couples stay together because their biggest asset — their house – is impossible to sell.  I cannot imagine how having to stay with someone you had fallen out of love with and not being able to move forward with your life.  This must be so incredibly difficult for a couple. It’s a lesson to not live above your means and to always be self sufficient in a relationship so nothing but love is tieing you together.

Three Places Where It Is Till Death Do Us Part

Category : Global Divorce, Global Marriage, Happiness

Sometime people get married, trying very hard to make it work and it just doesn’t.  They try therapy.  They try a vacation together.  They try everything they can!  In the end, the couple both realized it’s best to move on.  This seems like a normal scenario in America.  Imagine being in a country where this isn’t a possiblity.  There are three places in the world where divorce is actually illegal.  Yes, ILLEGAL.  Those places are Malta, The Philippines and the Vatican City.   

I can’t imagine what anyone would do under those circumstances.  In those three places it  truly is ”till death do us part!” I assume that one would make sure they are REALLY right for their partner before they go down the aisle.  There are no drunk nights and getting married by mistake like in Vegas.  Sure this kind of lifestyle would cut down on divorce, but nobody deserves to continue to be unhappy if they have a choice.  This isn’t robbing a bank…it’s getting divorced!  Sure people leave marriages too quickly in our society.  But I think most everybody would find it extremely difficult to live as an adult in a society without the option.  What is worse? Going to jail for divorce or being forced to stay in a terrible marriage, which can feel like jail? Is there a divorce jail in those countries?  Should divorce be legal everywhere in the world?

Sayonara To Your Marriage

Category : Global Divorce, Uncategorized

I have spent lots of time in Japan and enjoy the country very much, especially the food.  A new custom with divorce has arisen that has certainly peaked my interest. 

It seems that the Japanese have entered the divorce party game.  There is a special divorce planner who will create a ceremony for not just you, but your ex-spouse.  Yes, you will be having the divorce party together.  The Japanese are known to be more polite than were are, so maybe this is a more timid affair. 

The New York Times has written an interesting article covering it all entitled, “Untying the Knot In Japan.”  They detail one party, “held in what Terai [divorce party planner] calls his House of Divorce: an abandoned old residence with no power, no plumbing and peeling paint. “It’s a building which represents a husband and wife’s relationship — about to collapse.”  I don’t know about you, but I am more partial to a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel and a cosmo, but to each is own.  Next up, the ceremonial ring smashing.   ”Terai brought out a large hammer with a head shaped like a frog and placed Atsuko’s wedding ring on a table. He instructed them to hold the hammer together and pound down on the band at the count of three. The first blow knocked the ring onto the ground, where Terai scoured the cement floor with the aid of a tea candle. The second attempt was a success, squashing the ring into an oblong shape. Terai showed it to Atsuko’s friend, who nodded her satisfaction.”  What, they don’t have pawn shops in Japan?  I have to say that they have an interesting way of doing divorce in Japan.

Check In/Check Outta Your Marriage

Category : Divorce Day, Ex-Spouse, Global Divorce, Travel

In Holland it seems that divorce can be accomplished in 3 days (with a free continental breakfast included).  Afternoons consist of lounging by the pool with your divorce attorney, accountant, and soon-to-be ex-spouse. Can you pass the SPF 30 and the papers to sign?

Seriously, there is a hotel in Holland that actually offers couples the opportunity to check in for the weekend as husband and wife and check out as, well, not.  It’s aptly called The Divorce Hotel and they offer couples an opportunity to get a quickie divorce just like you would get a quickie marriage in Las Vegas.  The cost is about $3,500, which seems like a good price (a divorce can go on for months and cost upwards of high double digits, if not more).

“It’s a divorce in three days, roundabouts, in a hotel,” said Jim Halfens, who runs the company.

Couples thinking about going through the Divorce Hotel process have to start with a set of extensive interviews. If they decide they can settle their differences quickly, with a mediator instead of lawyers, then they choose a four or five star hotel. Over three days, the mediator and other specialists – notaries, even psychologists – are on hand to help the couple.

“If the marriage can be saved, we always tell people they are at the wrong address at the divorce hotel,” said Marie-Louise Van As, a lawyer who works as a mediator at the Divorce Hotel.

She notes that during the three-day stay there are checklists and homework that the couples have to do ahead of time.  But, at the end, you can check your spouse off the list!

For more information click here.

A Not-So Jolly Divorce In Jolly Ol’ England

Category : Global Divorce, World Divorce

Divorce can be just as nasty on the other side of the pond. Sir Nicholas Mostyn, a former powerful divorce attorney and now a well-known judge in England and Wales, says to have gotten an order to stop his wife Lucy from speaking in the press about their break-up. Nicholas left Lucy for another woman and she wants to speak her mind. She has not backed down and proclaimed to her friends that is was “pathetic bullying.”

The even more interesting part is that Sir Nicholas Mostyn’s lawyers are refusing to say which court granted the order, or give any detail of its terms. Nicholas, 54, is no stranger to prolific divorces, with past clients such as Sir Paul McCartney. In fact, he has the nickname Mr Payout because of the large sums he won for many wives over the years.

This got me thinking about the divorce rate in England. Interestingly, the divorce rate in England and Wales have fallen to their lowest in 32 years, detailed in recent statistics by the Office of National Statistics. Hmmm, maybe men are were afraid of having their wives represented by “Mr. Payout?”

Nobody likes being on the other side of the fence, especially a divorce attorney as powerful as Nicholas. Do you think Lucy has a right to speak her mind? Will it help her or hurt her in court?

Marriage And Divorce In Jordan

Category : Global Divorce, Global Marriage

I just got back from a trip to the Middle East, and it was quite interesting to learn more about marriage and divorce practices there.

I had a conversation with a guide in Amman, Jordan. I asked him about marriage and divorce there (he’s Palistinean, as are many of the people in Jordan) and this is what he said. By the way, it’s extremely complicated, so stay with me. A man — lets call him Mohammed — decides he wants to marry a woman. He has his family elder go to his tribal spokesman for approval. If the tribal spokesman — lets call him Abdula — agrees, then the woman in Mohammed’s family calls the mother of the girl to set up a meeting. Mohammed’s mother and sisters go visit the mother and sisters of the potential bride. Mohammeds family does a selling job on how wonderful Mohammed is, gives his full name, credentials, job expectations, his status in his clan,etc. Then the girls family has 3 days to check out Mohammed. (I am not sure what that entails, but I doubt they Google him). Then Mohammed’s mother calls the girls mother and if the girls mother agrees, Mohammed’s father calls Abdula, and Abdula calls his counterpart in the girls family. A date is set up for all the men to meet. The brides male family sets up a tent, and there the two male part of the families meet. The girls family elder puts a cup of coffee in front of the grooms family elder, Abdula again sells Mohammed to the girls family. If the brides spokesmen agrees to accept Mohammed, he tells Abdula to drink the coffee. Then after some pats on the back and congratulations all around, the two tribal elders work out the dowry. The dowry goes to the bride, 1/3 is for her to buy cloths, and 2/3 is for her to buy gold for her to keep. The man pays the dowry and wedding costs. Furthermore, couples can choose their own partners, and go through all the steps above. B the couple cannot have sex before the wedding. If they do, the woman can be killed by her family and the man sent to jail.

Now ,what about divorce? Of course, after all that one would be too exhausted to even think of divorce, but there is always the chance. Well, a man can have 4 wives, so not sure why he would want to divorce any one, but all he has to do is say “you are divorced” 3 times and it is over! The wife then goes to court and tells the court what happened. She keeps the gold from the dowry , and the court may award her the dowry amount again and then more if warranted. If the woman wants the divorce, she goes to court and petitions for it. If she just wants to get rid of him, she gets no additional money. However, if she can prove cruelty or cause the man will pay more.

It sounds terribly confusing and convoluted, but there you have the story I got of marriage and divorce in Jordan. What do you think?

Money & Marriage

Category : Favorite Articles, Global Divorce

Divorces are often costly, but in some places around the world right now it’s too expensive to even get married.

In Egypt the rebuilding process will hopefully begin. Many in the country are expressing their frustrations that the salary at their job is so low that they can’t get married. Approximately 40% of Egyptians survive on $2 a day. It’s next to impossible for many men to care for a wife and a family. The statistics are real and staggering.

As more and more information comes to the surface, it’s clear why so many are fighting for a better life. Public Radio International’s program “The World” had an entire segment dedicated to this issue. Here’s some clips from the piece:

When there aren’t massive protests in Cairo, this is a pretty typical scene: a cafe full of men sitting around, smoking water pipes, playing dominoes and doing not much else.

The café is called Casino Shubra. The name’s pretty much a tease here in the low-income neighborhood of Shubra. Though one man sitting alone in the back of the café, nursing a cup of tea, is thinking a lot about his luck.

Tayeb Muhammed is 31 years old, but his sagging face makes him look more like 40. Each day he works 12 hours at a restaurant making kabobs, earns a bit less than $3, and then comes here.

“I don’t have enough money to get married. I always ask myself, why is this happening?” Muhammed said. “Is it because I have been working for ten years and I did it all wrong? Is it because everything is so expensive? Is it the society? I don’t know the answer.”

To listen to the program or read the rest of the article click here.

Divorce In Other Countries

Category : Global Divorce

I was getting my nails done by my manicurist Kim and the topic of divorce came up. She told me that there is no divorce in her home country of Vietnam and it’s extremely rare for a Vietnamese person to get a divorce in the U.S. “Wow,” I said to my manicurist, “Vietnam has really nailed the no divorce thing” (no pun intended). “But, wait! Kim you’re divorced.”

“It’s becoming more popular in the states,” she responded with a chuckle.

I can’t imagine being in a country or society where there is hardly ever divorce. Or, how about no divorce at all. In the Philippines, divorce is illegal. Illegal?! Living in a country like America where it’s quickly becoming “land of the free home of the divorced,” it’s very interesting to see how others live.

Divorce being illegal is too extreme. However, should there be more rules about divorce in the United States so people try to work through their problems rather than jump ship so easily? Or, do you think things are fine here the way they already are?

Divorce In Italy? Fahgettaboudit!

Category : Divorce Rate, Global Divorce

I was a big Sorprano’s fan. One of the parts of the show that I enjoyed watching the most was the relationship between Tony Soprano and his wife, Carmela. During Season 5, their marriage was on the rocks and Carmela tells T0ny over dinner that she is going to move forward and file for divorce. Getting a divorce is never easy, but I couldn’t imagine getting one with a mob boss! Tony responded matter-of-factly, “Well, first of all we’re Italian, we don’t believe in divorce. We believe in the nuclear family.”

I decided to do a little research about divorce in Italy. In 1970, divorce was made legal in Italy, but has since remained one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, currently at 12%. Compared to the US at 52% and Sweden even higher at 64% (you might want to bring e divorce papers to the wedding). Maybe when Italians get married it really does mean “for better or for worse.” Historically, Italians are family-oriented and seem to work through their problems rather than just giving up and ending the marriage. Maybe the strict religious beliefs of Catholicism deter people from getting divorced as well as pressure from the family. Many newly married couples in Italy actually live with their parents or very close by. I guess in Italy they look at the bigger picture and the wife doesn’t get on the husband for leaving the toilet seat up (even though that REALLY annoys me).

Why do you think the divorce rate is so low in Italy?