Only Fools & Horses - Family Law Today
'Only Fools & Horses... or should that be Only Fools & Divorces!'
Being an avid fan of Only Fools and Horses it felt only right and proper to try and tie this in to my website blog, so here we go!
So how can Only Fools have any link to family law… I will tell you…
The episode ‘The Class of 62’ is a classic, and also contains a number of issues relating to family law, particularly circling around Raquel, the significant other of Del Boy.
In this episode, we find out that Raquel remains married to Slater, an ex policeman that is pretty much detested by everyone he meets. Raquel and Slater separated a number of years ago, but never followed through with a divorce. In fact we learn that neither Raquel or Slater even knew the whereabouts of the other.
Slater tracked down Raquel due to financial motives; he is about to come into a hefty inheritance and wants to ensure Raquel makes no claim against his new found riches. He wants her to sign a piece of paper to waive any claim she may have against his inheritance, by virtue of their marriage. A messy situation for all involved.
Despite not knowing each other’s whereabouts, divorce could still have been an option. Desertion can be a fact replied upon when demonstrating irretrievable breakdown of a marriage within a divorce petition. Proceeding with the divorce would have dissolved the marriage, and could have provided a little more comfort to Slater in knowing that at least the marriage was formally over in the eyes of the law.
However, each of their potential financial claims would have remained open as a consent order could not be entered into bringing financial matters to a final conclusion. Slater could however have relied upon the fact the marriage had been dissolved, and any post marital assets acquired ring-fenced. Saying that, Slater had a good case, given how long they had been separated, to rely on this argument anyway.
The piece of paper Slater wanted Raquel to sign would be a post-nuptial agreement, which are becoming ever more popular. But, even if she signed it would it be legally binding?
One huge issue is the fact Raquel would need to seek independent legal advice as to the content and the consequences of entering into the agreement. Further, given Del, shall we say, works slightly outside the parameters of the law, his own reputation could have been damaged if it became common knowledge that Raquel was once married to a policeman. A fact that Slater used to his advantage; is this not duress?
I also ponder why it is that Slater did not simply ask for the divorce when he was reacquainted with Raquel, everything could then have been dealt with in one fell swoop; both dissolving the marriage and resolving financial matters!
As you can see the brain of a family lawyer never switches off, even when attempting to relax in front of the TV with a warm cup of hot chocolate!
If you would like advice as to any of the issues raised within this blog post, please do not hesitate to contact me!