Belfast Telegraph

At least Nigella had the right recipe for a speedy divorce

By Aisling O’Connor

After a very messy six weeks in the Press, last week saw pin-up TV chef Nigella Lawson secure a decree nisi at the High Court in London.

In another six weeks' time, her divorce will be final – ending 10 years of marriage to art dealer Charles Saatchi. Just 12 weeks from perceived domestic bliss to a rubber-stamped split.

Only two months ago they were deemed to be an 'it' couple – their union a heady melange of power, good looks, politics, business, entertainment and art.

The scandalous pictures of Saatchi seemingly throttling his wife in public would tell another story.

Nigella's lack of support for her husband's denial of any wrong-doing, points to a bad marriage – and, worst-case scenario, to a case of domestic abuse.

All flushed out by a paparazzi photographer eyeing a top West End restaurant for a chance celebrity sighting.

Renowned for flirting with the camera, Lawson was subsequently snapped sobbing as she moved out of the marital home with her two teenage children from her first marriage.

Though Charles first said that he was filing for divorce in the Mail on Sunday, and not to his wife, it is Nigella who reportedly initiated legal proceedings.

By the time the Lawson-Saatchi marriage is dissolved, less than three months will have passed since those shocking images were made public.

Nigella didn't have to hang around for years to prove she really wanted out. Her swift move points not to a rash decision, but an opportunity to grasp freedom.

Had she been forced to wade against the current to legally end her marriage, as well as find the strength to walk away, things might very well be different.

The age-old mentality of staying together for the sake of the kids has now been replaced by waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And what of the kids? Surely, in a situation where two parents can't bear the sight of each other, or one is abusing the other, it is the children who suffer the most stress?

Speedy divorce at least means sparing these kids the torment of tension, waiting for their parents to get closure and move on.

In another respect, though she is dealing with quite an ordeal, Nigella Lawson has the luxury of being financially set up to leave her marriage behind.

Terminating a marriage is one of the toughest decisions a person can make in their lifetime; however, few enough people, in the current economic climate, can afford to separate – let alone to divorce. One can go for a cheapie DIY divorce, once all the legal conditions are satisfied, but the real financial cost is in splitting up a family.

For all those couples with a single income, children and a property in negative equity, finding the funds to rent even a dingy bedsit is next-to-near impossible.

In order to keep a roof over everyone's head, they must forego happiness and co-habit in tension and resentment.

These families are as burdened by their debts as those previous generations who laboured under antiquated laws.

So, congratulations to the Domestic Goddess on her move onwards to singledom and westwards to LA.

Based on Saatchi's own declarations that his wife was contrary and hard to please, and her quick departure from his side, there is no question as to whether the quickie divorce was warranted.

Hopefully, Nigella counts her blessings that she was obstructed neither by property crash, nor an 'are you sure you're sure?' legal system – for her own sake, as well as that of her children.

Belfast Telegraph

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