Rowan Atkinson has been in the papers recently following an application for divorce by his estranged wife of 24 years. The hearing was reported to last 65 seconds and has been dubbed a ‘quickie divorce’.
Mrs Sunetra Atkinson petitioned for divorce on the basis of unreasonable behaviour however no details have been released regarding what those grounds were. Unreasonable behaviour is often the most common fact supporting an application for divorce and can comprise anything that may be relevant to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Examples may include: not helping with the housework, bickering or even not joining in with social events or nights out.
As a result of the often inoffensive examples used to demonstrate unreasonable behaviour, a responding party will rarely object to the petition. This is particularly the case when the responding party also wants a divorce as quickly as possible.
It should be noted that Mrs Atkinson was granted Decree Nisi at the recent hearing. This is a statement by the court that the petitioning party is entitled to a divorce if there is no reason to the contrary and not a divorce in itself. This allows the parties to make applications for financial proceedings with regard to splitting matrimonial assets. The divorce will be finalised following an application for Decree Absolute which can be made at least six weeks following Decree Nisi.
Although Rowan Atkinson may not have objected to the petition for divorce, he may have something to say during financial proceedings. Time will tell whether this ‘quickie divorce’ keeps up its momentum.