I was recently chatting with one of my friends, Jenny, who was feeling apprehensive about attending her nephew’s 21st birthday on the weekend. Her brother-in-law and sister-in-law had had an acrimonious divorce five years earlier and were still not on speaking terms.
The planning for the 21st had become another opportunity to play out all the bitterness and gamesmanship that had bought the relationship to an end in the first place. The one person who seemed to have been forgotten in all of this was the poor nephew, who was faced with a choice of having two celebrations, one with each parent and their extended family. It was all too much for the poor young man. His father took over the organising, his mother and maternal grandmother, aunts and uncles were not invited. He didn’t feel up to having two big celebrations and was left having a 21st party that didn’t include some of the people he loved the most.
I felt saddened to hear this story. I know that a Melca divorce could have helped this couple to live a different life after separation, and equip them to put the interests of their children at the centre of their decision making, instead of setting them up to continue the fight. How many other young people are faced with being stuck in the middle of their parent’s messy divorce many years down the track?