I read today about the bride who didn’t know she was getting married until she arrived at what she had understood to be a retirement party. I have to confess I wasn’t convinced, or at least not until I watched the video; it wasn’t a YouTube spoof was it? I say that because in all my years practising family law, I haven’t yet come across anyone claiming they were coerced into a quickie marriage ceremony. Is that because grooms don’t normally arrange such things or because the would-be brides refuse to go through with the formalities? After all there has to be plenty of scope for this most romantic of gestures to fall completely flat on its face when the intended betrothed declines to proceed.
It’s much more likely, of course, that one half of a couple will spring a separation on their unsuspecting partner rather than a wedding. How many times do divorce lawyers find themselves attending a client who only found out their soul-mate was leaving from a note on the mantelpiece or kitchen table? Even worse there are some cowards who, whilst continuing to live with their spouse, get their solicitor to send a letter for them. Not only does that give a whole new meaning to the phrase “a solicitor’s letter,” it reflects badly on the client and lawyer who act in such a way and in so doing show a complete lack of understanding of the effect on the unsuspecting partner.
How easily the unexpected can become a traumatic shock.