Marilyn Stowe’s book – Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice from a Top Divorce Lawyer –provides a detailed guide to all aspects of divorce. Now in its second edition, it is far more than a simple legal guide. The book also offers expert advice on personal matters ranging from adultery to exercise.
In this extract, she looks at the changing concept of family in modern-day life, and how that affects people during a divorce or separation.
There have been momentous changes to the concept of “the family” over the years, and profound changes to the established family structure within marriage. Divorce no longer carries the social stigma that it once did. Even so, many people live together with no intention of entering into marriage. They don’t see the need. Many of those who do marry have no religious or social conviction that requires them to marry for life, for better or for worse.
There can be little doubt that social changes and liberalised attitudes have been as beneficial as they have been welcome. My only qualm is that as a divorce lawyer, I often encounter the presumption that if and when a relationship ends, the partners can move on without fuss. This is a dangerous presumption because in real life, few relationships end in such a casual way.
No man – or woman – is an island. No relationship exists in a vacuum. Today’s relationships may be more diverse and more complex than those of previous generations, but when they break down they do so with many of the same problems.
The irony is that even in these liberal times, it is still the law that creates the canvas upon which all our lives are drawn. Sometimes it can seem that the law is several steps behind society when recognising and dealing with the pace of change.
If you cannot make up your mind about your relationship, and splitting up or getting divorced is beginning to sound like the “easy” option, think again and think carefully. I do not say this because I believe that you could or should remain with your current partner or spouse. I say this because if you do decide that separate paths will suit you best, you should know that those paths may be rocky.
When you make your decision, look to the future as well as the present. What do you see there?
Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice from a Top Divorce Lawyer can be downloaded for just 99p here. All profits from the book are donated to the Children’s Society.