Divorce Series – an Introduction
This “divorce series” is a roundup of our articles on divorce. You might be trying to understand about divorce, or you might be going through a divorce. In any case, this is a pretty good place to start learning about divorce.
Who is this divorce series article for
This divorce series post is actually a post about our other posts (in this case, posts about divorce).
This divorce series article is likely to benefit you if:
- You are thinking about getting a divorce, and you don’t know where to start.
- You have started talking to your spouse about divorce.
- Your spouse engaged a lawyer to prepare some court papers, and you don’t know what to make of it.
- You are in the middle of a divorce, and need to make sense of things.
- Your divorce is over, but you still need to pick up the pieces.
What is a divorce?
A divorce is, quite simply, the opposite of a marriage. A divorce is a process of untying the knots of marriage.
Where a marriage creates legal obligations to remain with one another, a divorce creates freedom from those legal obligations.
But a divorce is also an enforcement of marital rights. When you got married, that marriage came with rights attached. Think of those rights as the bells and whistles.
So when you get a divorce, you’re putting those bells and whistles to work.
This article can be your roadmap to getting your divorce plan in order.
The four horsemen and your divorce.
Before you came to this page, you probably had an idea that your marriage wasn’t working out, like it should.
What gave you that idea? Possibly a bad relationship with your spouse.
The Gottman Institute from Seattle thinks that there are four “apocalyptic horsemen” who precede the breakdown of your marriage.
Incidentally, there was a law professor who once informed this writer that “IBM” in family law stands for “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. She didn’t mention the four horsemen, but there’s no doubt that they cause the IBM of many marriages.
These are the four horsemen that mark the breakdown of relationships.
The first is criticism, in which one party constantly finds fault with the other party’s personality or character.
What’s bad is the attack on the person’s character, rather than on the act.
The second is contempt, in which one party attacks the other party’s sense of self with the intention of insulting them. These can be detected through the use of sweeping statements, such as “You always….” or “You never….” or “Every time you ….”
What’s bad is the use of the words “never” or “always” which imply that it always happens, or never happens. Such a thing is beyond change, and beyond help. Contempt is a close cousin to criticism, and is one shade darker.
The third is defensiveness, in which one party sees himself as the victim of an attack, and strives to reverse the blame.
This defensiveness is sometimes retaliatory, in an effort to pre-empt conflict and blame. The defensive party could be trying to deflect the blame, while not taking any of the blame. What’s bad is that this causes the defensive party to avoid any discussion on his mistake — and blocking any means of improvement.
The fourth is stonewalling, where one party withdraws from the relationship to avoid conflict, and to convey disapproval and distance. In effect this is “shutting down”, or refusing to become involved in the relationship.
Shutting down makes the parties become distant, angry, and unable to communicate. The means of communication have become jammed in the shutdown. This makes a bad relationship, worse than before.
These are the four horsemen, which cause the breakdown of relationships, and cause divorce to happen.
Some topics we covered in our divorce series
We wrote about how the process flow of a divorce looks like. Generally, there are joint petitions for divorce, and single petitions for divorce. Both of them have different paths.
If you married a foreigner, or you were married overseas, we wrote about divorce in foreign marriages.
We wrote about the effect of prenuptial agreements in Malaysia. Prenuptial agreements are agreements which tell the court, in case of a divorce, what terms the parties have agreed upon. They are usually signed before the marriage takes place.
If your spouse converted to Islam, we wrote about your rights to seek a divorce and to seek ancillary relief.
If you’re looking to get divorce within 2 years from your ROM, read this article.
We plan to keep adding articles on the topic of divorce. Please check back with this page on our divorce series posts from time to time.