Just seen 500 Days of Summer – a perfectly adequate Rom Com. On the walk back, Liz and I were discussing getting divorced. For tax reasons. Neither of us could think of any tax advantages for divorced couples, but it lead us down an interesting conversational route.
A fairly standard ploy in movies (and real life) is the couple who wish to marry so one of them can stay in the country. Think Green Card or The Proposal. The “authorities” investigate to ensure that the marriage in sincere. Drama, hilarity and heartache ensue.
So, how could you create a plot where the position is reversed? A couple want a sham divorce. Why? What’s in it for them?
So, here’s the idea that we came up with on the walk home.
Part The First
Adam and Betty are wealthy business partners and a married couple. Sadly, the spark has gone out of their relationship.
Adam is being sued by Chuck over some business matter.
Adam’s lawyer, Derek, is sure that Adam is going to lose. If he does, Chuck will take all of Adam’s assets. Adam and Betty will be left penniless.
Adam and Betty hit on a cunning plan. They’ll pretend to get divorced! Betty will cite marital infidelity and take the family home, the car, the money and Lucky, the golden retriever.
Chuck is sure that Adam and Betty are trying to scam him, so he hires Ellie – a private eye – to investigate Adam. If Ellie can prove that it’s a sham divorce, Chuck will be able to sue the both of them.
Part The Second
Hilarity as Adam friends and Betty’s friends sympathise with them – separately. Lots of skeletons out of the closet. Inappropriate blind dates. People catching Adam and Betty together – so they have to pretend to fight.
Ellie decides that the only way to see if the divorce is sincere is to seduce Adam – if he doesn’t fall for her feminine wiles, that should be proof enough!
Through some contrivance, Derek the lawyer finds out about Ellie. He advises Chuck to keep seeing her to convince her of the divorce.
As Ellie continues to spy on Adam, she realises that she’s starting to fall in love with him.
Betty is, understandably, enraged by Adam and Ellie’s “relationship”. So she goes off to find herself a toyboy.
Enter Fred – the chiselled-jaw hunk Betty picks up.
Adam and Betty have to go as far as possible to convince everyone that they’re happy with their new partners.
Part The End
Ok, so how do we resolve this divorce?
- Adam and Ellie fall in love. Betty and Fred fall in love. Everyone is divorced and happy except for Chuck.
- Adam and Betty realise that they love each other more than they love money. They’d rather be penniless and happy together than rich and miserable separated.
- Enraged by Betty’s infidelity, Adam divorces her and take all the money.
- Fred, it turns out, is really Chuck. Adam and Betty divorce, Betty gets the money, Chuck gets Betty and the money.
- Chuck’s law suit never had a chance of success. Derek was trying to split up Adam and Betty.
Wow… finding a satisfying ending is tough. Perhaps this should be a choose-your-own-adventure…