We did talk about it once, some time ago, and dismissed the idea. It didn’t sit well. Offering a free divorce, or some contribution towards the cost of the solicitor’s fees, as an incentive or some sort of prize giveaway would help attract attention, but for the wrong reason. Instead, we went on to consider a contribution to a relationship charity or counselling service for every divorce we complete.
However, others don’t feel the same and one cheating website – a website which actually helps people have affairs – is running an online competition with the prize of £1,800 towards the cost of a divorce. And it has caused a bit of a backlash for them.
“Cheating website hits a new low” screamed the Daily Mail, guaranteeing a spike in hits on said website, which I guess is exactly what those who dreamt up the free divorce stunt were after. I hope it is people just going out of curiosity though and in the longer term there will be a drop in traffic and in interest on such a cynical site. I guess for those who did want to use it, some of the appeal was that it was a little under the radar and not widely known about. As adverse publicity grows, it could put people off for fear they are getting involved in something that is slightly more in the spotlight than they would want. Not all publicity is good publicity, after all.
We know that people do stray, whether married, in stable long-term relationships or if they are in a more recent coupling. It is a fact of human nature. We can never change it – but surely we shouldn’t be encouraging it.
So the website itself grates enough, but then to laughingly offer to pay for a divorce which will inevitably result for some as a direct consequence of being involved in the site is making a mockery of being married. There are no winners in divorce. It destroys families, friends and can have a lasting impact on children for the rest of their lives. This is not something that should be taken lightly. We should be offering those who are going through a hard time counselling, support and specialist advice. We should not be saying: “Oh well, if you do want to get divorced, here’s some money to help”.
Most recent statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggest divorce rates increased by 4.9 per cent in 12 months – the first rise in eight years. The marriage rate is also significantly lower than it would have been a few decades ago. We should be working to help couples in trouble and promote the benefits of being married rather than making it as disposable as many other things in our society today.