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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

“Win a divorce” stunt is wrong

4 Comments

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.

Andrew Woolley
Family solicitor

Comments

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Regarding your comments about MaritalAffair.co.uk offering to fund divorce.  Surely your position is wrong - the site encourages people to to have an extramarital affair - surely encouraging people to get a divorce is morally more agreeable.  Moreover, if people might take an extramarital affair and turn it into comething more permanent (and legitimate?) surely aiding with the costs - which helps all sides in a divorce - is preferrable.

IMHO…

By Bobby on Thursday August 16, 2012

Bobby makes a really good point—what are other people’s views?

My fear is that they encourage the behaviour that causes the need to win a divorce.

Certainly, though, I guess it can’t be argued that it is morally better to have a divorce before an “affair”!...

By Andrew Woolley on Thursday August 16, 2012

Is trading in human misery ever ethically acceptable?  I coach apparently successful people and so often divorce either their own or more often their parents has profound effects for the rest of their lives. Far too serious to be the stuff for winning prizes.  ...

By Jacky Sherman on Friday August 17, 2012

I would agree with you Andrew, sites like this obviously exist and although that’s regrettable I think if someone wants to have an affair they will by internet or other means. However using a ‘win a divorce’ as a quick fix to marital problems does trivialise the whole concept of marriage and even divorce.

I feel that divorce is the last resort, even some people have affairs are able to work it out. I feel that this site may encourage this huge step because of a ‘why not it’s free?’ attitude. Even though I specialise in financial advice for divorcing people I would rather have more succesful marriages.

I do feel that a lot of important things are trivialised these days. A song springs to mind ‘it’s a beautiful night, we’re looking for something dumb to do, hey baby I think I wanna marry you’....

By Samantha John on Friday August 17, 2012

What do you think?


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