NZ Herald 23 July 2016
Family First Comment: An interesting discussion – although note that there is very little discussion around what’s best for children, and their needs.
“Divorce has never been easier and, for marriages where abuse or genuine incompatibility is at play, shooting the horse can be the best option. But for others it’s not so straightforward: according to several British studies, upwards of 33 per cent of those who divorce will regret their decision within five years.”
There is a tiny chapel perched in the meadow above Judge’s Bay, in Parnell. White and wooden, it’s the perfect setting for a romantic summer wedding.
A 10-minute drive from there, crouching low over the wind-tunnel of Albert St, is the Auckland District Court. Above the entrance, a large patch of mould is creeping down the facade to meet the New Zealand Coat of Arms.
Of the 10,000 or so couples who marry in New Zealand yearly, roughly a third will eventually end up filing the papers here, on level 6, to dissolve their marriage.
Divorce has never been easier and, for marriages where abuse or genuine incompatibility is at play, shooting the horse can be the best option. But for others it’s not so straightforward: according to several British studies, upwards of 33 per cent of those who divorce will regret their decision within five years.
Google “divorce regret” and you will find the internet is littered with those regretting their decision to end it.
Whisper, the app where people anonymously share secrets, logs confessions from people wishing to turn back the clock, side by side with those happy to be moving on.
Sir Paul Coleridge, a retired family law judge in London, has seen exactly this scenario play out many times. He spent 42 years in the family law system, 30 as a barrister and the remaining 12 as a judge, divorcing couples. He was so frustrated by witnessing what he felt were many unnecessary divorces, that he founded a think-tank, the Marriage Foundation, in 2012. While the family court provides a remedy for the problem, the foundation is his attempt to address its cause.
Most divorce is concentrated in the first 10 years of marriage, when the stress of young families, hectic lives and money pressures can be overwhelming. He says more than half of the divorce cases he heard were salvageable, despite reaching litigation. They hadn’t hit the point of no return, things had just got much tougher than they would like.
If the marriage is sound, the way through, he says, is for spouses to confront the aspects of themselves and their marriage that they would rather ignore, and address those difficulties head-on.
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