Divorce and the danger of false hope

Marilyn Stowe

In this extract from the second edition of Marilyn Stowe’s book Divorce and Splitting Up: Advice from a Top Divorce Lawyer, she talks about the different kinds of divorce and how dangerous it can sometimes be to hold out hope for reconciliation.

In human and emotional terms, divorce cases can be divided up into three categories: amicable, acrimonious and agonising.

The first, in which both parties agree that their relationship has run its full course, is probably the easiest. The second, in which one partner has treated the other so badly that reconciliation is simply not worthy of consideration, can be the nastiest but is still relatively clean cut.

The third is the saddest of all.  One partner wants a divorce and the other doesn’t. The refusenik partner denies that the marriage is over, and puts up every possible obstacle to the divorce taking place. This is done out of sheer bloody-mindedness, or because the partner still harbours the vain hope of a future reconciliation, even to the point of ignoring the pile of solicitors’ letters that has built up beneath the letterbox.

This approach, while understandable from an emotional point of view, can be very expensive in terms of both health and finance. Years of constant stress and turmoil, caused by this denial of reality, can take its toll on even the fittest and most well-balanced of people. A nervous breakdown can be the end result.

Sadly, if your partner is set on dissolving the relationship, there is little point to your efforts to keep that relationship going indefinitely.  It doesn’t often happen that both people agree the marriage has broken down and go their separate ways. Often that decision is made by one person only. The other has no choice but to accept that decision, with the greatest sadness.

To download your copy of Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice from a Top Divorce Lawyer for just 99p click here. All profits from sales of the book are donated to the Children’s Society.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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lavinia - April 18, 2016 at 7:34am

There should be a further category, divorcing someone with Mental Health issues it affects the health and well being of the entire family. They suddenly announce they want a divorce then use the push me pull me routine which means theyre not entirely sure what they want. They then go on to make said divorce as difficult as possible by failing to negotiate and clinging on.

JamesB - April 18, 2016 at 1:00pm

I agree with lavinia, both petitioner and respondent can be upset and act strangely at this difficult time.

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