Hey AFA, don’t tell me I need to fix my marriage

Hand on heart, I can say that my divorce is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was not in an abusive relationship, and my ex-husband isn’t a terrible person, but we were not right for each other.

The decision to end our relationship marked the start of a wonderful renaissance in my life. I got to know myself – not as a function in somebody else’s life, but what my likes and dislikes, and hopes and dreams were. Me, myself. 

And when I was ready to embark on a new relationship, those previous years of marriage counselling meant I had become what I like to think is a pretty good partner, who knows how to work together on a relationship, know my worth and appreciate that in another – while also maintaining healthy boundaries and a sense of self.

In short, I’m unquestionably a better person because of my divorce.

But whether I am or not, my divorce was my decision, as a grown-ass adult – something that could be taken away from us if the Australian Family Association gets its way. It’s made a proposal to the Federal Parliament’s family law inquiry to have the waiting period for divorce doubled to two years, from the current requirement of one year from the date of separation.

They think that will give us all a better chance to get over our hurt feelings and realise we actually still want to be together after all.

In documents submitted to the inquiry by the AFA, they claim “longer waiting periods are associated with lower divorce rates”. Which makes sense, largely because people probably can’t be arsed going through the paperwork.

There is no talk about whether longer waiting periods result in increased happiness in anyone – presumably because happiness is not the primary goal here. 

Not only that, but the AFA also want to ditch no-fault divorce, so that anyone who has been unfaithful is penalised financially in court. Only if you can prove it, of course, which must be a super fun project when you’ve just found out your partner has been dabbling elsewhere. And that also implies that the only way someone can be a cock in a marriage is to cheat. 

Unsurprisingly they haven’t mentioned being penalised for coercive control, emotional abuse, gaslighting, or being a member of the Australian Family Association.

But the inquiry has asked for more info, so clearly they’re interested. For a clear picture of this process, it’s important to mention that the inquiry is being chaired by father of five Kevin Andrews, who has been married for 41 years. And good luck to him, but he’s clearly got zero experience of the need to draw a line under a mistake and move on with his life as quickly as possible in order to retain some emotional and mental stability.

His deputy chair Pauline Hanson, who needs no introduction, actually disagrees with the Australian Family Association’s pitch. 

“If you’ve made up your mind you don’t want to be together, why drag it out for two or three years?” she said, according to The Courier Mail.

“You’re going to cause more grief and pain. Sometimes it’s better to finish and move on with your life.”

And, look, I’m going to say something I never thought I’d say about Pauline Hanson: The woman speaks sense. 

The idea that we should have to stay married to someone just in case we might reconcile if we just took a bit longer is at best insulting and dumb – and at worst, seriously dangerous.

All it means is that we’ll be separated for longer, our property settlements will be messier because we will have moved on with our lives, and family law courts will be clogged with more disputes because everything has become such an effing mess. 

Because married doesn’t always equal happy – and which would you rather be?


Struggling with separation or divorce? Check out Champagne Divorce Club. Our community and membership program will help you turn your divorce into the best thing that ever happened to you. Check it out here

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.

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