Thursday, February 22, 2018

Divorce Needs - I need £58,000 for shoes!

Is anyone old enough to remember Imelda Marcos's shoe collection? A thousand pairs have gone mouldy now apparently. This case also reminded me of Heather Mills seeking a helicopter and a billionaire lifestyle from her divorce from Sir Paul McCartney. She did not succeed in establishing her claim and left the marriage with a paltry £24 million.  But what of Ms Estrada?
Christina Estrada, a US citizen and former Pirelli Calendar model, was married to billionaire Saudi shiekh Dr Walid Juffali in September 2001. Dr Juffali being a Saudi national.
The 12-year marriage collapsed in 2012 when Dr Juffali married a Lebanese television presenter 32 years his junior whilst still married to Miss Estrada; a union which is allowed under Islamic law.
Miss Estrada drew ridicule for her demands. She initially sought £196.5 million, including £116,000 a year for handbags, £46,000 a year for Wimbledon and Ascot tickets and £1 million a year for clothes, including £40,000 for fur coats and £83,000 for cocktail dresses.
In a judgment on July 8 2016, Mrs Justice Roberts gave Dr Juffali three weeks to pay a settlement worth just over £75 million, including a £140,000 Lamborghini. This should be measured against the 54 year old former models demands for a settlement of some £196 million as reported in the Daily Mail
This was the largest "needs award" ever made by an English court although larger payouts have been made. In 2011 Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky agreed to pay some £385 million as part of an even larger settlement. Some 3 years later, Sir Chris Hohn was ordered to pay his ex wife some £337 million in their divorce.
These are clearly awards beyond the imagination of most people. The question though is really one of jurisdiction. Why are our courts attracting these kind of cases? Is the legislation that we offer reasonable compare to those offered in other countries? It is possible make an application in England even after a different jurisdiction has made a financial ruling. This, if it can be shown that such award was unfair.  We have a more generous approach to financial provision in big money cases, the yardstick of equality being the starting position. Gone are the days of a millionaire's defence... no disclosure required as the husband was confident he had adequate resources to meet the wife's reasonable needs  as assessed by the court.
There are two interesting and perhaps unique characteristics of English Family Law:
1. There is no statute of limitations - so a claim can be made decades after divorce...
2. The yardstick of equality is the starting position and the cornerstone of each judgement is  judicial discretion.
Ms Estrada described her lifestyle during the marriage as magical... and she looks pretty ecstatic in thephotos walking out of court with a cool £75 million...
However, her ex husband died 9 days before he was due to make the ordered payment and Ms Estrada is now involved in further litigation to secure the payout... some say she will never get any money out of Saudi Arabia... interesting twist to a magical tale...

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Domestic Violence continues apace...

Here's one I wrote before I got distracted by Brexit...

Parliament held a debate on 04 February 2016 considering the role that men can play to reduce domestic violence against women. The House of Commons produced a briefing stating that domestic violence is a ‘key priority’ for the Government and an updated violence against women and girls strategy is due to be published shortly.

Parliament recognized that campaigning groups said that men can play a part in preventing violence in a number of ways which include:

1. Being a positive role model to other men and speaking out against domestic violence, helping to change attitudes and social norms.

2. Taking on a leadership role in the community and using this opportunity to speak out against violence.

3. Confront sexist, homophobic and other prejudicial remarks.

4. Not buying magazines, movies or watch television programs that portray women in a sexually degrading or violent manner.

The briefing stated that the cost of domestic violence is estimated to employers as some 3.1 billion. The total cost is an estimated 23 billion. There are various factors taken into account, including the human and emotional suffering and the subsequent suffering of children.

The debate discussed the White Ribbon campaign and how local authorities can embrace this campaign by becoming a member themselves, by reviewing code of conducts for employee, by commissioning services ensuring that the principles of the Write Ribbon campaign are written into new contracts.

Examples of inappropriate behaviour among young girls which were laughed off by other men were cited; also examples of women being inappropriately touched by strangers on the dance floor, in a bar, on a tube, on a train - it appeared prevalent in public places where space is confined and men take advantage of the opportunity to grope and inappropriately touch women.

One teacher stated that violence against women is everywhere, on every street a woman is taking a beating while just keeping quiet and waiting for the ordeal to be over. In every night spot in the country, some teenaged girl is groped and shamed. Every school in the country has a kid whose time there is respite from what they see at home. When a problem is everywhere, ‘we need everyone to join in the fight to stop it’. The MP Geoff Phillips read out a letter from a teacher.

She then continued, this is not an 'us and them’ issue for women and men. Women fight for their rights to live free from violence are not attacking men; they are defending women. The more men who join us in the fight again violence against women, the less it will happen. We must encourage every woman who suffers violence to report it to the police. I wish I had.

Cat Smith, labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood stated:

‘It is clear that violence against women remains a significant  problem in Britain, with 900,000 calls relating to domestic violence to the police up until March 2015. This equate to a staggering 100 calls every hour of every day’.

The solutions they suggested focus on education, having suitable role models to follow and refuge provision. The Government has announced 40 million between 2016 and 2020 for domestic abuse services including refuges and a two million grant to Women’s Aid and SafeLives to support early intervention. However, a better outcome for women would potentially be if they could stay in their home with their family whilst the perpetrator is removed and not allowed to move in with the next partner to start the cycle of abuse all over again. This was the view cited by Karen Bradley, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for the Home Department. She stated as follows:

‘Women are girls are far more likely to be victims of such crimes and we recognise that inequality and gender play fundamental roles in violence against women and girls. We all have important roles to play in challenging the cultural norms and stereotypes that underpin violence against women.’

In my experience, domestic violence can go unreported for many years. Eventually the victim is strong enough to make a complaint either to the police or via the civil court via a non-molestation application. The response of the perpetrator is often denial and mud slinging. I have had cases where large men have accused petite women of fighting with them. This stretches the imagination somewhat and even photographic evidence of a black eye and a broken jaw does not halt such perpetrators from denying the abuse and alleging a ‘tit for tat’ scenario. This makes the whole situation more traumatic for the victim.

The difficulty in a lot of case is a financial one. The woman will be left without a home for herself and often her children. The offer of a refuge is a short term solution and is not a preferred option for many.

Two women a week are murdered by their partner or an ex-partner. This statistic is shocking, but to shift the cultural norm that it is acceptable for a man to use violence against a woman when he is provoked or out of control, education is required at every level.

It is not acceptable to bully another human being. The domestic violence laws have been strengthened recently to take into account forms of domestic abuse which fall short of violence. Often domestic abuse increases in severity and frequency.

Campaigns have been used in the past showing a fist followed by a bouquet of flowers. The remorse and apology the next day claiming undying love and the fact that it is only because of this love the man was driven to such behaviour requires a unified voice to shout out and proclaim that this is wholly unacceptable. Love does not involve violence. It would be ridiculous for a woman to hire a mercenary to beat up her husband if he was late home from work and respond the next day that this was only because she loved him and he had driven her to it. Such a scenario is laughable in its ridiculousness. Men and women need to rethink the social norm that domestic violence has become.

The debate states that every woman who undergoes domestic violence should call the police. Unfortunately the police switch boards would be jammed. Most women consider it is a waste of police time. What do you do if at 2 a.m. your husband refuses to allow you to sleep, switches the light on and pulls the duvet cover off of the bed? You are scared and the only reason you cannot go to sleep is because he will not let you and will not leave the room. If you go to the bathroom, he kicks the door in. Do you call the police? The answer is probably no because you consider that the police have more important things to do, however, such behaviour is wholly unacceptable. The above scenario happened to me an experienced divorce lawyer and, yes I did not call the police. And yes the domestic abuse continued, worsened and yes I swiftly ended the marriage.  And yes his disruptive behaviour became worse. It is not an exaggeration to say that he tried to destroy my life and career. I now have 9 civil injunctions on him - 4 for life and 5 for 5 years... there were 14 criminal investigations...

The only way to end this is via zero tolerance akin to Mayor Galliano’s campaign in New York. Whether there is enough traction and goodwill to facilitate this will be bourn out as to how the Government approaches the next stage. The mention of the cost of 23 billion may well promote a conservative government to take action against this abuse. Educating your children that such behaviour is wrong, if at the same time you allow such behaviour to continue in your own home, is nonsensical. Each of us can make a small step to bring about this change and we need to start now.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What are the Grounds for Divorce

Jennifer Aniston, Marion Collitard and even Sinita have been dragged into the impending uncoupling of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Pitt met Jolie in 2005 on the set of Mr and Mrs Smith. He was still married to Aniston at the time.
There were then, and are now rumours of infidelity.
Angelina filed papers citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split and asking for physical custody of the couple's six children - Maddox, age 15; Pax, aged 12; Zahara, aged 11; Shiloh, aged 10; and twins Vivienne and Knox, aged eight.

Divorce in England and Wales

What then are the grounds for divorce? Divorce law across the Pond is different. They have the term - irreconcilable differences. In England and Wales there is a common misconception that there are 5 grounds for divorce. This is not technically true there is only one basis for a divorce. That being that you have been married for at least at year and that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. It rests with the party who is filing for the divorce to demonstrate one of five different facts.  Those facts being:
1. Adultery - you must prove that your husband/wife has committed adultery. It must be proved that the spouse has had sexual intercourse with another party and you find it intolerable to live with them.  It cannot be your own adultery giving rise to the action. It is harder than anticipated to prove this fact and most Petitioners will choose instead to file under the fact of unreasonable behaviour.
2.  Unreasonable behaviour is the most common fact upon which to provide the ground for divorce.   You must demonstrate that your ex partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably expect to continue to live with them.  If the allegations of behaviour are serious such as physical violence then one or two allegations should be sufficient but if you are alleging a less severe fact such simply growing apart then you will have to put forward half a dozen or so points of reference.
3. 2 years separation - In this instance you have been separated from your previous partner for at least two years and you both agree to the divorce.
4. 5 years separation - you have been living apart from your spouse for at least 5 years then the other party does not need to consent.
5. Desertion. The least commonly used fact is where the spouse has actually deserted the Petitioner for at least two years.
The facts seem simple enough but the process can be stressful and complicated where there are children and entwined finances.  A specialist family solicitor can alleviate the obvious pressure and stresses surrounding a quite frankly not pleasant experience.  Get the right guidance as soon as you can. Your choice is crucial.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Why Should I have a Postnuptial Agreement?


Why should I have a  postnuptial agreement?


Draw up a postnuptial agreement if your relationship is undergoing difficulties and there is a possibility of a split in the future. It is worth reviewing your financial situation and drawing up an agreement as to the division of your assets in the event of a separation.

If your relationship is blissful it is worth deciding on  a division of your net worth in the event of a separation in the future as emotions will not be involved and people are able to act far more rationally when they are not in pain or reacting in fear, anxiety or revenge
Is it worth the paper it is written on? What is it's currency in English law?

Let's go back to 2010 and the  Supreme Court decision in  Radmacher v Gratino

The judgement test  was -

“Did each party freely enter into an agreement, intending it to have legal effect and with a full appreciation of its implications?  If so, in the circumstances as they now are, would it be fair to hold them to their agreement?"
Lady Hale

Pre and post nuptial agreements are not legally binding but...


 I have moved my blog over to my new website at


The rest of this post can be found here:


 Why should I have a postnuptial agreement?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp - Round Three

So Hollywood's A list couple have settled.
Let's look back.
They married in 2014 with Amber Heard filing for divorce some 15 months later in May 2016 after allegations of domestic abuse.  What baffles is not the short life of their marriage despite it's shocking impact on the world media.  From Johnny Depp’s vast $400 million fortune he was prepared to settle with Amber for $8 million.  That equates to some £533,333.33 per month for every month they were married.  
Amber was looking for more. She did not accept this was sufficient plus she indicated that spousal support should be on the table as well and for Depp to pay her legal fees. 

They have now settled for $7 million... which Amber will donate to charity... The plot thickens...

Almost unheard of to negotiate backwards. What prompted Amber to cave so dramatically? The public fight concerning her domestic abuse allegations removed sympathy from her - she was regarded as a gold digger. She is young and gorgeous but her marketability both as a movie star and as a future spouse to other wealthy gentleman was at risk of plummeting. Maybe she was advised that she was heading into obscurity and public revilement and becoming the next Heather Mills. Maybe emotionally she could no longer cope with victim being made out to be villainess. Maybe she had a better offer on the table and was seeking out a new, far wealthier beau...
What confuses me is that Depp never opted, bearing in mind the complications that money can bring and the vast difference in their wealth, to have a prenup in place. Amber is perfectly successful having appeared in dozens of movies over the years including, Magic Mike XXL, The Danish Girl and the Rum Diary in 2009 (where she met Depp) and she also spent several years as the face of Guess. But Depp owns an island. An actual island.   Amber is probably at the start of her career whereas Johnny at 52, may be asking a lot of us to suspend our disbelief for much longer that he is the charismatic young Captain Jack Sparrow.

As the couple failed to put a prenuptial agreement in place this entitled to Amber to half the money made over the course of the relationship which looks closer to the $30 million mark. Ouch.  

Amber Heard has a lot to be grateful for. Obviously gorgeous, a youthful 30 years old and wealthy enough that she is promising to donate her alleged $7 million divorce settlement to charities including American Civil Liberties Union and Los Angeles Hospital. And the fight is over... well not quite... As reported in the BBC News 

Amber is now accusing Johnny of being a cheap skate. he has paid the $7 million direct to charities and not via her hence saving $7 million in taxes. Sounds sensible to me. Also sounds like Amber is not over this divorce as she wants Johnny to suffer a bigger financial penalty than he was hoping to get away with...
In England and Wales it  is widely accepted that prenups are not legally binding as such, but what they are is persuasive. What they are, is a opportunity to make a divorce quicker, cheaper and less painful.  A romance killer? No. It is no different to a will. If you die you want to make sure the people you care about are protected.  It is no different with prenups. No one wishes death or divorce to come a knocking but at least when/if it does then you are prepared.  

Monday, February 08, 2016

Madonna in Court to Force 15 Year Old Son Home

Nobody can have missed the fact that Rocco, Madonna's 15 year old son wants to stay in London and live with his father.  Who can blame him - London the coolest place on the planet for a teenager and... he did live here before.

What people can't grasp is why Madonna is fighting this through the courts. She has the benefit no doubt of the most expensive legal advice. She is highly sophisticated and knows that her son's wishes and feelings will be accorded a major determining factor. Is she just wasting her money and ruining her relationship with her son? What court is going to physically force him to return to New York if he refuses? Indeed he is old enough to have his own legal representation so he does not need to rely on his father to cross swords with his mother.

He has been ordered to return by an American court and he has not done so.  Now it is reported that Madonna is pursuing the fight through the English courts and there is a further hearing in the New York Supreme Court on 5th March.

What has gone wrong? Reading the reports it appears that Madonna is a disciplinarian and Guy is more laid back. The contrast in parenting styles being apparent even when they were together. Madonna enforces a macrobiotic diet - no phones, no TV and anything left on the floor is thrown out. By contrast - Guy is pictured bike riding with Rocco and there are reports Rocco has been seen smoking.

There is also a large section of the press decrying Madonna's parenting skills - she is a dictator and spends all her time working - her children are forced to go on tour with her and she spends no time with them. Rocco left when she confiscated his phone and because she did not spend time with him.

This story sounds familiar.  Lots of teenagers rebel - Madonna included. Lots of teenagers would leave home if they had a more comfortable alternative. I am sure lots of adults would like the alternative of running away to escape their responsibilities and to be allowed to live a less restrictive life and still have their every need taken care of.

There are all sorts of reasons why Madonna could be doing this. Maybe she needs to show Rocco she loves him enough to fight for him.. Maybe she is fearful he will sink into addictions or other self destructive behaviour with a looser leash. Maybe she just needs to be in charge and win everything. Maybe she is devastated and this is the only thing she can think of to get her son back.

What is Guy Ritchie's motive in all this? Why has he not sent Rocco back? Is he just trying to win against Madonna? Or does he believe she is too strict? That she is not there enough? That she is not supporting their son enough? Or not concerned with his happiness enough?

Children act applications are decided on what is in the best interest of the child. Parental acrimony is not in the child's interest. Long term and repeated parental conflict is emotionally damaging - children do less well at school - are less able to have fulfilling relationships and are more anxious and unhappy.  Who wants that for their child?  

This Government would like parents in this situation to mediate - negotiate the matter calmly with a neutral facilitator and to make parenting decisions jointly. Work together to come up with a joint parenting plan. 

If only the emotion could be taken out of these conflicts and both sides could learn to compromise. Easy to say - very difficult to do.

Here's what Rocco needs to remember - you only have one mum. She may not be perfect but she is your mum. Nine months is a long time when you are 15 but focus on getting a better deal from mum for now and set a deadline - if things do not improve - big changes can take place - but with everyone in accord.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Coercive or Controlling Behaviour - Now a Crime

Domestic abuse has now been extended since 29 December 2015 to include coercive or controlling behaviour.

What does that mean?

It means if your actions are adversely affected because someone else causes you emotional harm or - on at least 2 occasions - fear of violence.

Many people claim they are controlled by their partner - for example they cannot go out with their friends, they cannot be late home and they need permission before they can do virtually anything. There is a big difference between compromise in a relationship -discussing what is right for both of you - and being bullied into doing what your partner wants.

Other examples - checking up on your phone, controlling your Facebook account, telling you what to wear, stopping you from drinking, stopping you from working, limiting when you can see your family or friends, controlling your access to money, criticising you endlessly or putting you down in front of others. 

Most people know when someone is abused by their partner - the old joke of being hen pecked or worse that a man's extreme jealously shows that he loves you.

The difficulty is that when people are in an abusive relationship they often normalise the behaviour - they justify it to others and claim it is not that bad. Usually things escalate before victims realise that they have been emotionally abused for a long time.  They have just accepted being bullied in order to have an easier life and through fear of the anger if they disagree.

The key is the effect the behaviour has on the victim. Often this effect is cumulative.

Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation Karen Bradley said:
"Our new coercive or controlling behaviour offence will protect victims who would otherwise be subjected to sustained patterns of abuse that can lead to total control of their lives by the perpetrator. We are sending a clear message that it is wrong to violate the trust of those closest to you and that emotional and controlling abuse will not be tolerated."

This legislation comes at a time when domestic violence referrals are already increasing. The maximum sentence is 5 years. It will be interesting to see if the police are sufficiently trained and resourced to pursue this offence.

How to tell if you are in an abusive relationship? Imagine your partner's reaction if you  rang and said one of the following:

you would be going out with friends and so would be late home,
you planned to go on holiday with a friend,
you had invited your parents for the weekend,
you had changed your passwords on your social media.

If you feel fear  or anxiety at the thought of any of the above then perhaps you should carefully consider whether your relationship needs changing.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Should I stay or should I go now?

The agony of indecision. Not bad enough to leave not good enough to stay. Some people contemplate the decision to leave their partner for many years. Anxiety is at it's height when you do not know what to do. Life is only half lived. You put other things on hold - holidays, work promotions, DIY, hobbies, time with friends - everything is dealt with in a half hearted manner whilst you ponder whether you should end your relationship. You don't know what to do so you do nothing - you start to drift through life and everything becomes mediocre. No joy, no contentment, no pleasure, no hope, no fun. Then perhaps you turn to distractions - an affair, alcohol, gambling, drugs, shopping, food - any addictive habit to give instant satisfaction and relief from the agony of indecision.  Then eventually the decision is made - it's either too late to leave -may as well live out our last years together in semi misery or the misery of indecision becomes so bad you decide leaving is the only way to escape. You want to make the right decision but in the end the decision is made through procrastination.

If you trawl the Internet you will find long lists of what you should consider in order to make the right decision.

Is your partner abusive? If yes - leave.

Can you afford to leave? If no - stay.

Do you love your partner? If yes stay but what if the partner you love is abusive? Leave.

Are you religious? Stay.

Have you both stopped trying? Go to counselling.  

These practical decisions are not helpful.  You know the answers but you are not sure if you are making the right decision.  The only wrong decision is no decision because of the limbo it traps you in. There is a saying - Put up or shut up.  Somehow all such sayings are based on wisdom that is inescapable.

When weighing up any decision in life remember there are three different options.

1. What you want to do
2. What you should do
3. What you must do.

If you live your life through should - you may well stay for the sake of the children. If your should is to be grateful that someone married  you in the first place - you will stay married.

If your must is to avoid disappointing your parents you will stay married. If your must is to be a good catholic you will stay married. 

Confusing  the wants, shoulds and musts is how people get stuck. What if you don't know what you want? You just think you don't know by the way - it is the shoulds and the musts that are getting in the way. 

Here is a simply way to work out exactly what you want.

Imagine you won the lottery - millions and millions  - no matter how rich you are you win more than your total net worth. What would you want to do with the money? Don't think about it - your first instinctive answer is the key - be truthful with yourself - you don't need to impress anyone.

A. Split it with your partner and go your separate ways.
B. Share it with your partner and use it to rebuild your lives together.
C. Hide it from your partner. 

Your first answer will tell you whether you want to divorce or not - and what type of divorce you can expect. Next you simply need to decide whether you are going to do what you want or live by your shoulds and musts.  By the way you can change your musts but it takes effort.

Once you make the decision - live with it. If you decide to give your life together a chance - set  a deadline for things to improve - and put your best effort into improving them. If you decide you cannot leave even though you want to then make your best effort to make the most of the situation - after all it is your life.  Live it the best you can...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cohabitation Break Up and the Division of Property

Cohabitation law is very different from matrimonial finances. Upon divorce a husband or wife has a claim against the assets and/or income of their separating spouse and the division of the matrimonial pot is decided on the basis of what is fair taking into account the factors for consideration via statute.

With regards to cohabitation law when unmarried couples separate their assets are divided according to land law. Historically this has appeared very unfair to the weaker earning party and some people can live and share a life for many years with their partner and receive no financial settlement if they have made no financial contribution.

Where properties are held in joint names the court has been required to consider the parties intention as to division and whether that intention changed over the years. This is where matters become more complex. A starting position of 50-50 can change due to an express intention. That is the parties have written documentation confirming they wish the share to be altered or an inferred intention. It is then for the court to decide whether the parties intended to depart from equality despite there being no documentation to support this.

Each case will be decided upon its own facts.

A recent Court of Appeal case had to consider whether there was a common intention to vary the beneficial interest, whether the shares which the judge  decided - 85%/15% were wrong and whether non payment of child maintenance payments was relevant to the calculation.

On the facts of this case Mr Phillips had taken 25% of the net equity and used it for his own purposes and post separation from 2008 onwards had made no contribution towards the mortgage. The court concluded that it would only have been acceptable for him to do this if a joint intention as to a change in the beneficial share was made.

The appeal was dismissed on all 3 grounds and it was held:
I consider that, in principle, it should be open to a court to take account of financial contributions to the maintenance of children (or lack of them) as part of the financial history of the parties save in circumstances where it is clear that to do so would result in double liability. 
 — Barnes v Phillips [2015] EWCA Civ 1056, [41]    

This is more a move towards fairness which is the bedrock of judicial discretion in matrimonial finances. 

The case of Stack v Dowden gives judges a wide discretion in taking into account any factors when assessing the “whole course of dealing in relation to the property”. Child maintenance and non payment there of has now fallen within that net. 

This is a welcome move but makes it more difficult to predict the outcome of cases.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Divorce without pain in celebrity land

The fashion in celebrity land appears to be a quiet divorce and continuation of family life . After the media storm of the McCartney break up who even remembers Madonna's divorce? That headline grabbing media magnet managed to get divorced and quietly move on.  How clever is she? I submit that she is unique in this regard.

The uncoupling fashioned by Gwyneth Paltrow et al offers a new landscape where couples spend time together post divorce in what appears happy families doing what families who are still legally and emotionally intact do. This all reminds me of Stepford Wives. Let's pretend we are having fun for the sake of the children, our reputation or to exhibit our exemplary emotional control, self sacrifice and lack of pain and our superiority.

Here's the thing - if you wanted to have Sunday brunch together as a family you would not be divorced. The relief of divorce is not having to spend time together - isn't that after all the point of divorce?

These celebrities are copying what most people do who don't want to get divorced but can't stand the sight of each other - live out their lives in misery still forced to present a united front to the outside. The reason lots of people give for not going through with divorce is financial - they can't afford it. What the fashionable celebrity set are expounding is financial independence via divorce, discreet sexual freedom via divorce but family gatherings a la unhappy marriages.

Is this a good thing?  In my experience couples who spend time together as a family afterwards usually do so because one party cannot move on. It's not about love or kindness it is about control and fear. It does not produce happy memories for the children or even happy children - it is dysfunctional and causes anger and rejection by the children.

Let's look at Halle Berry - what a stormy ride she has had with Olivier Martinez - they are now divorcing as reported in the Telegraph above - they state that they are moving forward with love and respect for each other. Has the passion run out then? It will be interesting to see if they are able to follow Gwyneth in her conscious uncoupling. Here's Gwyneth's explanation:

“What that really means is that even though you hate me and you never want to see me again, we are going to brunch because it’s Sunday and that’s what we do.”

Make your choice but remember - you only have one life and spending Sundays, Christmas and other special times with your ex who you may hate, loath, dislike be repelled by or simply find boring and offensive is endorsed by celebrities.