Sunday, 31 July 2011

Pilots and divorce: It's not pretty

Whilst idly reading Pprune's (Professional Pilots' Rumour Network) Middle East forum this morning, I came across this.

In a thread entitled "ex-wife", an Emirates pilot asks his Middle Eastern pilot colleagues:

"Does anyone know how successful an ex-wife would be at obtaining all your EK pay and contract benefit history, including provident funds for the time you worked at EK if her lawyer served a a court order for the information? "
Which translates as:

"I'm getting divorced, and I don't want my ex-wife to be able to access any of the money I've made while I've been out in Dubai. Granted, she moved over here with our children, gave up her career and friends at home, and spent years living in a hot desert while I flew all over the world, but sod it, I hate her now, so I don't want her getting any of the money she thought I was making for all of us."

To be honest, the question alone shocked me enough, but as I read further down the thread, some of the comments made my blood pressure shoot up even more.

For example:

"Sell all you have and go into cash, physically hold the money. Keep this burried in the garden not safety dep box (no annonimity in dxb anymore)
Have no money in any account anywhere in world. Hold the cash.
Run up as much dept and personal loans as possible. All goes into the pot + and -.
When the lawyers ask about the dissapearing assets, say you where scammed when you tried to buy gold bars in BKK/JNB/Deira. The rest you lost gambling.....sorry."

"I think perhaps that my present First Officer has the right idea...'Why get married when all this free skirt is around, it's a bit like taking a ham sandwich to a banquet.' "

"Anybody know what happen if you don't pay the full child support amount?
Is it anyway that they could impound your salary from a European country? "

The fact that this sort of view is the majority not the minority on this thread is really a huge cause for concern. What sort of people are these men? I'm amazed at all the bitterness and vitriol.

I do think aviation is an easy route to divorce if a marriage is weak anyhow. It's a tough job for any family to deal with, with frequent absences, moving away from a home country, tiredness and financial instability all coming in to play. My husband often jokes that he's amazed if a Captain he flies with is still on his first wife. And it's not really a joke; it's true, they're definitely in the minority.

And the fact that divorce proceedings often get nasty is not an excuse to refuse to offer financial support to your wife and children, particularly if it was you who opted out of the marriage.

Girls (and boys!) I suggest you have your say on that thread. They deserve to have a bit of a reality check, I think!

Saturday, 30 July 2011


Sorry it's been a while since I last posted - we only got back from the UK two weeks ago and we're heading back again next week (en route to France for a holiday) and my feet don't seem to have touched the ground.

My work is busier than ever, and I had a big break recently which has been taking up a lot of my energy. I was reflecting the other day that our move out here has, ironically, re-energised my career, and helped me see my options much more clearly. When you're in the UK, a wage slave, it's much harder to see the bigger picture.

It's topping 50c here some days, and our plants are looking withered/dying. Hey ho. Thank God for aircon. It's too hot to do much outside except swim, which is fine, as we have lots of work to be getting on with! The little'un is now 15 months, and he's just taken his first steps. Magic.

And to finish - this is completely unconnected, but when I was home last I dug around for my old Take That videos, and found Take That, The Party, Live at Wembley, from 1993. This segment, Apache, has stuck with me since. Guess which bit of Howard's section I freeze-framed rather a lot...

Teenagers, eh.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Back to the future

I'm home in the UK at the moment. I flew over last weekend without my hubbie, who can't get leave until next week. This isn't something I'd usually do - I had a special reason. On Tuesday, I went with Mum and one of my best mates to see the glorious Take That live at Birmingham Villa Park. It was an incredible night. As ever, they put on a brilliant show, full of theatrics and energy. And seeing all five of them together again was stella. But, I digress.

Yes, I'm at home with my parents now, with our little boy, but without my husband. It's not great.

Firstly, they have taken my son over. This is great for a couple of days while I get all the sleep I need and enjoy the novelty of being able to read the newspaper, but after that, it rankles. Yesterday, we went to a wildlife centre, and I always seemed to be 10 steps behind them, looking like the older daughter, not the mother of the little boy in the buggy. I know I sound ungrateful, but I AM a grown up, and I DO look after my son day in day out, often alone, when I'm at home!

Secondly, I'm regressing. Going to Take That hasn't improved matters, of course (I feel like a teenager again whenever I see them) but I do feel like I've somehow been transported back to 1994. Suddenly, I'm a hormonally challenged bean-pole once again, sans driving licence and dreaming of something more interesting than a daily routine of hanging the washing out, emptying the dishwasher and going for lengthy walks in the countryside for the rest of the day to avoid having to do any more housework. Back then, I dreamed of the bright lights of London (where I eventually went to University, and lived there for more than 10 years). Cripes, I'd have thought my life now was exotic and thrilling. Which it is, really. Unbelievably, sitting here looking out at my parents' gorgeous English garden alive with all things summer, I'm pining for our villa, which is caked in dust and baking in 45c. After all, that's our home, mine, our boy's, my husband's. Our family's place. Not here.

Which makes me think of the women I know who've decided to move back to the UK, leaving their husbands to live alone in the sandpit. This short spell home has proved to me I couldn't do it. Staying here doesn't feel like a positive step forward - it feels like a step back. Living with or near my parents, as many of these women are choosing to do, for childcare reasons, would drive me (and my parents) bonkers. We love each other, but living that close would drive us crazy. We all need our space. I need to be independent.

And that feeling that all I've fought for over the years - my career, travel, living somewhere that challenges me daily - I'd lose it the minute I moved back.

Nope, moving back to the UK without my hubbie is a complete no-go. I'm staying put, thanks very much. Plus, it's apparently summer here in the UK, but I'm freezing! Brrrrrrr! Take me back to where the sun shines brightly, take to where the sea is blue...



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