To D Or Not To D? Working Towards An Amicable Divorce [Book Review]

Posted: June 9, 2015

Author Vijay Nagaswami in To D Or Not To D, tries to answer if a divorce can be amicable. He offers insights on all nuances of divorce from an emotional, financial, and legal perspective. 

Marriage is regarded as a sacred bond and a commitment for a lifetime. However, it might happen at times that things don’t work out and one has to make a hard decision. Though never an easy option, sometimes divorce is the only option for both the partners.

However, caught between tradition and modernity, people still have mixed feelings about divorce. It is perceived as something morally wrong and against Indian culture. With so many taboos attached to it, is it possible to have an amicable divorce? Or is it just an oxymoron?

Vijay Nagaswami, through his book, To D Or Not To D: Working Towards An Amicable Divorce, tries to answer this question by analyzing divorce from various perspectives. The book targets people who are contemplating divorce, giving them a complete understanding of all the issues and their nuances from emotional, financial, and legal perspective. Also, it discusses the various reasons for divorce and why people stuck in marriages are reluctant to get divorced.

Perceptions on marriage and divorce

Nagaswami defines marriage as a relationship between two consenting though imperfect, adults. And, for everyone marriage is for keeps as divorce is never on our minds when we decide to get married. But is marriage for keeps or is only a happy marriage for keeps? Is it correct to stay in a toxic relationship which constantly drains you of your emotional energy, diminishes your belief in yourself, and arrests your growth and development as a human being?

A logical answer to this question should be a ‘No’. Then why divorce is anathema to most of the Indians? Why is it considered sacrilegious or an unholy thing? So many people choose to stay in an unhappy marriage, living miserable lives. While the scenario is changing in urban India, in various parts of our country divorce is still taboo. Nagaswami tries to answer these questions through his case studies and psychological analysis.

Some people associate divorce with failure, some with shame and guilt, and some as a sign of weakness.

Some people associate divorce with failure, some with shame and guilt, and some as a sign of weakness. Even divorced people face emotional upheavals of shame and guilt at times. One possible answer to why such perceptions about divorce is the way we look at marriage – whether as a sacrament or as a relationship.

Ironically, another perception prevalent about divorce is that it is viewed as an easy option. As per media reports, most people believe that the reasons cited for divorce are frivolous and young people with low tolerance power are always ready to jump for a divorce. A person goes through a lot of emotional upheavals when contemplating a divorce and has to maintain a really strong bent of mind while the divorce is in process. Therefore, divorce is never an easy option. Yet, in the face of marital toxicity, it is a necessary and last resort.

Divorce – Why, When, and How?

The second section of the book explores the question whether to ‘D’ or not to ‘D’.

Nope, the book doesn’t advocate divorce. Neither is the author going to walk you through the process of making the decision and then help you get an amicable divorce. Nagaswami just shares some of the key points that a person contemplating a divorce needs to consider before making a decision. These key points have been analyzed deeply by Vijay Nagaswami, and discussed in a very lucid and simple manner.

For example, one point of consideration can be whether you are suffering from depression. When a person is depressed he/she ends up having a dark view of the world and making a decision on the future of marriage when depressed would only result in a divorce. Further, Vijay Nagaswami discusses various factors that may impact on a divorce like alcoholism, dowry, pre-marital non-disclosures etc in depth.

Another thing the book focuses on is the legal aspect of divorce. Most of the people who contemplate divorce have very little awareness on the legal process of divorce. Nagaswami explains the legal processes involved in divorce and the various divorce laws in crisp, concise, and simple language so that a person with no legal background can easily understand it. Further, he also discusses the financial aspects that need to be considered before deciding on divorce and the impact of divorce on children.

Amicable Divorce: Mirage or a reality?

The final section of the book highlights the things one needs to understand and do to make divorce a relatively painless process. Since the divorce itself is an extremely painful and exhausting process both at an emotional and mental level, a majority of divorces aren’t amicable. Even divorce by mutual consent can turn out to be hostile and disagreeable. So does that makes expecting an amicable divorce a dream? Further, how many people do understand the meaning of an amicable divorce?

An amicable divorce means that both the partners agree that divorce is the best option for them and also, are on the same page when it comes to issues like child custody, alimony and settlement.

An amicable divorce doesn’t mean that both partners get along normally as friends or as if nothing has happened. It means that both the partners agree that divorce is the best option for them and also, are on the same page when it comes to issues like child custody, alimony and settlement. Further, the book also discusses why it is necessary to have amicability.

To D Or Not To D? discusses all the points one needs to consider before taking a decision, and if the divorce has to be taken, then an amicable divorce is neither a mirage nor an oxymoron. Further, the book describes various situations and scenarios through case studies and fictionalized stories. The whole idea of the book is to provide all the information that one is not likely to be aware of before taking such a life-challenging decision. Vijay Nagaswami with his simple, fluent writing and in-depth research has done complete justice to the book.

If you’d like to pick up To Do Or Not To Do by Vijay Nagaswami, do consider using our affiliate links at Flipkart or Amazon India

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An engineer by profession but a writer at heart, I try to seek happiness through

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