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Family Law

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01 SEP 2011

Falling in love with …

Penny BoothWell, surprise, surprise ... (cynical old me) it seems that modern couples really do just lose that loving feeling. See The Times, page 17 (not even page 1) Wednesday, 31 August, 2011.

Part of me is rather grateful about the report in today's papers that the extramarital affair seems somewhat out of fashion now. Such affairs are so messy in all senses of the word. If a marriage is to end, let it be for the one reason anticipated in 1969: that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. All the rest are the reasons that demonstrate that it has. Better that than seeking after solace outside the marriage even if, as reports suggest, growing apart and falling out of love is the most common reason given by intending divorced couples as their reason for seeking the divorce. Apparently, again, surprise, surprise, many people shipping up at their solicitors are surprised when they cannot put down "fallen out of love" or "growing apart" as the reasons for the divorce. Maybe they should be able to...?

This survey of 100 family lawyers using the experience of around 1,000 divorcing couples has found that 58% of lawyers have noticed a rise in the use of prenups (since it was decided in our Supreme Court less than a year ago, one has to query the effect of the Appeal Court decision ...) and 38% are concerned that new rules regarding mediation will put pressure on "weaker" parties to mediate rather than go to court. That begs more questions than it answers. Watch this space...

This annual survey on divorce indicates that growing apart and falling "out of love" is the most common reason given for wanting to get divorced. The extramarital affair now lies in second place. The increased percentage over the affair is not by much, though. Alas, the rationale given for the loss of interest in quoting the affair as the reason for the end of the marriage can be laid at the door of celebrities. It would appear that it is they who are increasingly more likely to regard an affair in their own relationship as being less crucial to and less destructive of their marital relationship. Perhaps this is percolating down the food chain to us lesser mortals who feel bound to follow and put up with our partner's infidelities than we once were?

What can one say? - falling in love is for cream cakes, pretty cottages in the Lake District, new sweaters and stuff like sofas, or for when you are young (and) in love - isn't it? Yes, I have fallen in love with those sorts of things, but when very young, did actually "fall in love" with a person. The trick is to make the "falling in love" real long-lasting and committed "love". When it is over, it just is. When it is "love", that is much harder to break, even if there is "the inevitable monotony of monogamy". Bring it on.


Penny sets the questions for Family Law journalCPD, a new way to gain CPD points by answering multiple choice questions based on the content of the journal.

She is an Honorary Research Fellow at Liverpool University Centre for the Study of the Child, the Family and the Law. Click here to follow Penny Booth on Twitter.

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.

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