Sunday, 26 June 2016

Divorce Therapy - Day 3

Jean Claude says "It wasn't a tight love affair anyway," and he "wants a quick divorce."

I am angry again, VERY ANGRY.

The Dutch pair over the road have refused to invite me in; they just say I need to get the divorce sorted quickly. They seem worried I might taint things for them.

The French couple up the street are just the same. Things aren't too rosy for them too, I fear.

Now Jeremy and his clan are all going their separate ways. Everyone seems to be splitting up.

I'm getting confused. I mean I always knew we were being lied to; I'm not a complete fool but I'm not sure who it is I am angry with anymore.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Divorce Therapy - Day 2

Tell me how you felt yesterday.

Yesterday, when I found out, I felt numb. All sensory feeling was suspended and a girdle of anxiety squeezed my chest. 

What did you do yesterday?

I didn't move from the sofa.

And Dave, tell me about Dave.

Dave went to see the woman at the end of the Mall.

How did that make you feel?

I cried. Sadness overwhelmed me, not for Dave but for me and for the family. Then I got angry, really angry. Next I even felt guilty; perhaps I could have done something to have prevented this.

How are things today?

I feel calmer. Inward looking and isolated. I know life hasn't ended but it just feels different. There's a chasm and it feels as though it is going to be there for a long time.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Divorce Therapy

When I started this blog it was intended as a form of therapy, a cathartic diversion to the stresses and strains of life as a divorce lawyer. It has been many months since I have made an entry for the simple reason that I do not need a panacea in retirement.

Today however was different. I should have known it was going to happen with the repeated arguments and outrageous behaviour of recent weeks but it still shocked me. 

This morning when I awoke, I learned that we are going to separate after 40 years. Worse still a messy divorce is envisaged and one that may start immediately. Already the cash in the bank has plummeted, our pension funds and investments reduced. I wanted to stay in our home but I no longer know if that will be possible. A move to Scotland is a possibility, or Ireland. Does anyone know what Ireland is like?

Dave is going, of course. Hanging around for a little while but he’s not going to do very much. Well I know there was no love lost between us, but seriously it’s still hard to take when it happens.

What do I tell the children? They may be old enough to make their own minds up, but they are hurting too; Nicola says she’s staying put whatever and Martin is thinking of pursuing his own union elsewhere. Some fool down the road had the gall to tell me it was Independence Day whilst others have just looked shell-shocked when they heard the news. People I haven’t heard from for a while have been handing out tissues and sympathy; Tony said he thought there had been “mixed messages” for the last couple of months and Michael summed up my feelings accurately when he described it as “a gaping hole.” 

Sadiq is trying to smooth the waters but the damage has been done and it hurts. I’m angry and I think I have every right to be.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Christmas Creches

Back in December 2007 I wrote an entry on this blog about a Christmas crèche in Austria. It seems that the idea has caught on and this year we have seen a similar project launched in Carmarthen, with one to follow at the weekend in Manchester

Comfortable settees, magazines, sport on large TV screens and electronic games, it sounds like boys’ heaven; a haven where men retreat to whilst their other halves get stuck into some serious Christmas shopping. 

To work like a crèche the men must presumably be deposited and collected by their wives or long term partners. In 2007 I pondered on the outcome if their spouse failed to collect them; in 2015 I wonder what will happen if the men quite simply don’t want to leave! 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Family Law Reconnaissance Tour

I returned from India this week where, as well as seeing the sights, I felt it to be my duty to undertake a reconnaissance mission on behalf of former family law colleagues. In the event that any may be seeking a change of scene then I can reliably confirm with photographic evidence that:

Delhi has a designated family court albeit with a removeable sign;

Modern offices for firms of lawyers abound;

Barristers’ chambers occupy historic buildings with rickety stairs.

Home from home, I guess!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Larry's Party

It has taken me some time, eighteen years to be precise, but I have finally read "Larry's Party," by Carol Shields which was first published in 1997. It is the touching story of a male florist who develops a penchant for mazes and experiences two divorces along the path of a successful business career. There may be touches of humour but it is essentially an emotional experience in which the author seeks to share the thoughts and feelings of a very ordinary man's life. 

I suspect it's a book best avoided by family lawyers and their clients for it fails to dwell on processes and instead concentrates on feelings. However and whilst I'm a firm believer in fiction mirroring the reality we find too hard to describe, this is no self-help book but rather the life-journey of a contemporary man (albeit, and because of my dilatory reading speed, of the last century).

I do wonder, however, is there really anybody out there who has invited not one but two ex-wives to the same party?

Friday, 16 October 2015

The House of Social Media

Whilst travelling recently we undertook a guided tour of an 18th century Ottoman house. The guide showed us what he described as the gentlemen’s room and pointed to a small curtained gallery above. He explained that this was used by servants to check when the men required serving their next course and also by the ladies of the house, to spy on the men; maybe catching a glimpse of the face of their betrothed after an arranged marriage had been contracted or to stalk their husband, learning perhaps if he was planning a second or third marriage.

“We call it Facelook” the guide said, “The historical precursor to Facebook.”

Friday, 4 September 2015

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival closed on Sunday after 25 days and more than 50,450 performances. It was gratifying to see, in the runners-up for Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe 2015 Award, a reference to relationship breakdown and the impact on children.

You really can’t beat a good pun. Thanks therefore to Simon Munnery in joint 8th place for:
“Clowns divorce. Custardy battle.”

We are, after all, always looking for ways to resolve disputes without the need for a court case.

Friday, 21 August 2015

A Spark of Solace

Underneath the guise of an emotionally contained divorce lawyer there is invariably a soft personality who is easily moved to tears by beautiful music, films or novels. No wonder therefore that I jumped at the opportunity to listen to “Spark” which is the second album from jazz singer and song writer, Kat Reinhert. It was released independently today and is inspired by Kat’s own experiences including with the struggles and hardships that divorce can cause.

“We’ve said goodbye so I know that I’ve just got to walk into the rain,” she sings on the first track.

In the next she proffers advice for dealing with the emotional aftershock with lyrics like, “Sometimes we have to put it down because it’s heavy.”

At times her songs acknowledge the pain whilst other tracks motivate the listener to keep up the battle for recovery with, for instance, “You are not going down without a fight.”

Kat succeeds in being a harmonious mentor and says herself that she is “proud of this album. Not only because of the content and themes it explores but because of the music and arrangements that the musicians helped to create and shape.”

If you want to share the rawness of someone else’s pain and in so doing seek solace for your own then listening to Spark could hold the answer.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Remote Control

I took delivery of a new television set today. We now have his and her TVs, after I finally resolved that watching the screen when Outdoor Man controls the remote is just too tricky. Whenever I thought that we were settling down to watch something, lo the channel changed. What is it about men and their innate desire to surf TV channels? For a gender that is notorious for its inability to “juggle,” it certainly has to be congratulated on being able to follow a dozen programmes contemporaneously.

A family law colleague once remarked to me, after encountering similar issues in her own living room, that she found it curious that she had never been asked by a client to draft a divorce petition incorporating allegations of unreasonable behaviour based on a husband’s operation of the television remote controller. I never did either. I do recall proceedings, once upon a time, which referred to a wife’s concealment of the remote but generally speaking the fairer sex clearly learnt long ago that there are some battles that are not worth the fight.

Moreover, when house contents came to be divided, in my experience it was not unknown for a husband to magnanimously concede that his wife could have the majority of the furniture and white goods, so long only as he could retain their largest television set. Fortuitously she usually agreed to him having the remote controller too.