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If you have children its unlikely that getting the divorce will end your relationship with your spouse. Gone are the days where you went your way and he/she went his and you were free to start a new life. Children make that impossible, no matter whom the courts have given child custody to and whom child rights. Today’s new style of parenting makes it impossible to not have communication with your ex partner.
Its called co-parenting and much is being written about it. It is sometimes even harder than the bad marriage itself. Specially if you opted for divorce thinking that would be the end of your problems.
That’s what happened to Kavita. Communication was a real source of conflict in their marriage because he just wouldn’t listen to her. We’ve all heard that story. Societal conditioning makes Indian men believe that women don’t know what they’re talking about. Its encouraged by their parents (as we know, even their mothers who have found other, less direct ways, of getting their way) by their male friends and often by other women too, women who are not powerless but who achieve what they want by manipulation rather than by saying what needs to be said. So its no surprise that an intelligent woman found communication to be an issue in her marriage.
Brave Kavita decided that she wasn’t going to stand for it, plus other things weren’t working very well either – and opted for divorce. The usual four years of being dragged around courts ensued (you’d think the courts could busy themselves with releasing under trials wrongly imprisoned for over 20 years instead of dragging their feet on a simple open and shut divorce case) even though both of them had had enough of each other. After four years, the children were allowed to live with the mother, the father got visitation rights – and all this took ONLY four years because neither contested the other, nor threw banana skins in each others paths or indulged character defamation or any of the other ugly things that happen in divorce courts, to the utter surprise and betrayal of the parties involved, only because divorce lawyers ( may they all rot ) cook up these sordid tales.
Back to Kavita. Once all this was over she found she was still inexorably tied to her ex. He had to send child support payments. He didn’t send them on time. Arguments ensued. His contribution to child rearing was to take the children out for the weekend, get them too exhausted to do any homework, simply ensured they had a great time and came home with upset tummies, colds, sunburn, dislocated arms and the ever looming HW to be finished. So, she had to put her foot down there too and negotiate with him .
Basically , divorce is not the end of a relationship, but the redefining of a relationship and there’s no getting away from that. I can just hear the donkeys bray of the divorce nay sayers who laugh triumphantly – “Why get a divorce at all then? You may as well have remained together – marriages aren’t perfect.” I have an answer for them. You MUST get a divorce if things aren’t working out for you, no point in remaining stuck.
And this issue of communication, that, lets face it, almost all Indian marriages have because Indian men WILL NOT communicate. The Lord and Master doesn’t need to – his decree is simply to be accepted. So the issue of communication is easier to work out when you are no longer married to that person. Tempers don’t run that high. You have been sobered, by the realization of your big slip up, and by the filth of the Divorce Courts where there aren’t even any loos and the corners are frighteningly betel nut stained with weird red splashes. All that makes both of you more amenable to reason. And you can work it out.
You learn to function as a family, with the child’s well being as your primary point of interest.
A freelance journalist and teacher, Kalpana is a feminist, an animal rights activist, passionate about
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