A Kuwaiti woman has filed for divorce one week into her marriage because of the way her husband eats his peas!
During my years as a family solicitor, I came across many bizarre reasons for people wishing to end their marriages. One lady in particular considered that her spouse’s constant snoring constituted unreasonable behaviour. I can sympathise – my own partner’s snoring raises the roof and some nights I could cheerfully strangle him as he lies there oblivious to the mental torture being inflicted upon his loved one. After a restful night, however, peace is restored once again and all thoughts of death and destruction forgotten.
Although January is highlighted in the press as being the “divorce season”, my own experience alerts me to the fact that divorce is not something that people generally embark upon lightly. Enquiries may have been made well before Christmas and sometimes people wish to avoid any conflict over the festive season, particularly when children are involved. Bizarre reasons for divorce are the exception rather than the rule.
In England and Wales, in order to apply for a divorce you must usually have been married for at least a year and your relationship must have irretrievably broken down. If you are not sure if your relationship has broken down, then consider going along to a relationship counsellor such as Relate or look at online assistance such as The Couple Connection.There is a lot of assistance out there so there is no need to feel alone. If your spouse doesn’t think there is a problem and won’t consider any help, then you have a tough call to make. If your spouse is the one looking for some assistance, then be aware that your spouse may be trying to tell you that unless you can sort things out together, then there may be only one option left.
Equally, nothing is irreversible. Some people begin divorce proceedings only to realise that they have made a mistake. Until your final decree has been pronounced by the Court, you can discontinue any proceedings if you both decide that you wish to remain married.
If ultimately you decide that your relationship is over and that you wish to look at divorce, try to keep relations with your spouse as amicable as possible. Keep in mind that you once loved each other. The trauma and emotion of divorce is going to be difficult enough for you both to get through without arguments and heated battles. Your children also need to be protected from any emotional exchanges as it is not their fault that their parents no longer wish to be together.
If you do become embroiled in bitter exchanges, your legal costs may well escalate as both of you dig your heels in. If at all possible, try to agree as much as possible and if this is not possible, enlist the assistance of an experienced family mediator.
The following may provide some assistance to help you through this difficult time:
Children and Divorce
Children need to know that both parents are there for them and fully committed to them. Try to work with your spouse to come up with a plan that ensures that you both are fully involved in your children’s lives. Any arrangements for children need to be flexible. If you are unable to agree together, look at some assistance. Family mediation can be extremely effective in assisting both of you to draw up a parenting plan. You would be surprised how much you can get through with an independent third party acting as mediator. The Parent Connection is an excellent online resource to assist separating parents. Remember that whatever you are going through, your children are going through also.
I attended a course prior to Christmas at the Marriage Foundation. During the course, results from a survey carried out by Seddons Solicitors were disclosed suggesting that less than a quarter of parents considered that divorce had affected their children. More worryingly, the survey concluded that almost 70% of parents considered that their divorce had no negative impact on their children’s personal relationships. For those interested in the results, click on this link: The Marriage Foundation.
Contrast this with the survey undertaken by Netmums which disclosed that only around 14% of children could be honest with their parents about how they felt, with only 1 in 10 parents aware of this. Click here for a summary of the results: Netmums.
Whilst it is dangerous to take statistics in isolation and without any explanation, my own experience has been that parents are so consumed by their own grief that it is almost impossible for them to conider what their children are going through. It is also my experience that very few take up the suggestion of seeing a counsellor or their GP to help them through the emotional trauma. There is no shame in seeking assistance from the resources available – in fact, of those people that I have seen that have agreed to seek some external help, the majority come to terms with the end of the relationship in a much more positive and balanced way.
Finances and Divorce
It is important that you both disclose your assets as fully as possible. Any attempt to circumvent this may prejudice one or both of you and you run the risk of having any agreement that you reach set aside by the Court. I have written further on the importance of financial disclosure in the section entitled: finance and property in divorce. The procedure for providing financial disclosure is the same whether you choose to carry this out at arms’ length through a solicitor; through mediation; through collaborative law; through family arbitration; or through the Courts.
Unless you have a great many assets, divorce is going to cost you both. Whereas you may have had two incomes coming into the household, you are both now going to have to get used to a reduced income and the reduced expenditure that accompanies this. Is there a way that you can increase your income?
To find out more about how divorce mediation can assist you through divorce, please contact me, Cathy O’Mahoney, at Divorce Nicely on 01304 800002 or visit my website at www.divorcenicely.com.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.