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A tortoise divorce

Humans aren’t the only ones who decide to move on after years of marriage. Two tortoises in Austria have decided to call it quits after being partners for 115 years.

The Austrian Times is calling this the end to the “world’s oldest animal marriage.” The Austrian zoo where the animals are housed has tried to counsel the pair by having them play together (they refuse) and giving them “romantic” food (to no avail). “We get the feeling they can’t stand the sight of each other anymore,” the principal zoo keeper said.

Sound familiar?

The problems began when the female bit off a piece of the male’s shell. She continued to attack him, causing zookeepers to move him to another area. According to the Austrian Times, “Zoo staff have told the experts that nothing has changed in the pair’s routine – but Bibi in particular wanted to have the cage to herself and be a single.”

Grounds for divorce in Maryland

Of course, getting a human divorce is not as easy as biting your husband and then getting the authorities to kick him out of your house. In Maryland, for example, divorcing couples must prove at least one of seven grounds for divorce.

Fault-based grounds for divorce allow spouses to obtain a divorce immediately. They include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion (actual or constructive)
  • Cruelty of treatment (that endangers the life, person or health of a spouse or child)
  • Excessively vicious conduct (extreme acts of domestic violence)

Other grounds for divorce that require spouses to wait for a certain amount of time before getting a divorce include:

  • Insanity: The spouse has been confined to an institution for at least three years
  • Criminal conviction: The spouse has served at least one year in prison
  • Voluntary separation: The parties live separate for at least one year and the marriage is beyond a reasonable hope of reconciliation
  • Two-year separation: The parties live apart for at least two years

Perhaps the male tortoise could use cruelty of treatment as the grounds for his divorce. A divorce lawyer can help you determine which grounds apply to your divorce.

Source: Austrian Times, “Shelling Out for a Divorce,” June 8, 2012.

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