Miss Debrett on... Divorce
The days when divorce was a social anathema,
enough to permanently cast divorcees out from
the Royal Enclosure at Ascot (a rule that was
only repealed in 1955) are long gone.
Divorcees were once seen as predatory
and dangerous - man-eating gorgons
intent on stealing husbands. The
whole business of divorce was
surrounded by an atmosphere of
lingering titillation - hints of
adulterous liaisons in seedy
seaside hotels, dastardly
co-respondents, private eyes and social scandal.
Today's divorces, on the other hand, are routine and bureaucratic, and any social stigma has all but evaporated. Divorce only seem to make the news when vast sums of money are in dispute, and most people emerge from experience with their social reputations intact.
The ease with which divorces are handed out and the 'no blame' culture that surrounds them minimises scandal and scurrilous gossip, but does nothing to eradicate the emotional impact of a failed marriage. The seismic upheavals caused by a divorce can extend far and wide - first and foremost to children, but also to family, in-laws and friends and acquaintances. A failed marriage can create a rift in even the closest families and frequently breaks up a social circle; loyalties are questioned, sides are taken, and talk of betrayal is in the air. Disputes about money and custody can easily turn poisonous.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that an easily acquired decree nisi indicates that a modern divorce is absolutely routine. In many cases it is very far from that… If you are contemplating a divorce, or watching a close friend do so, brace yourself. Armour yourself with a carapace of tact, diplomacy and good manners - you'll need them.
Miss Debrett's Top Tips
- Remember that the comparative ease with which divorces are now handed out does nothing to minimise the emotional impact of a failed marriage.
- Be prepared for seismic upheavals in the aftermath of a divorce - first and foremost to children, but also to family, in-laws and friends.
- Armour yourself with a carapace of tact, diplomacy and good manners.