A recent email received from the Contact form from this website reads as follows:
Need support as looking for divorce after 9 yrs marriage.
Another email was received last month with subject mentioning “Need help regarding Divorce, DV, and XYZ”
I filed divorce case in Mth 20xx, since that time I have been fighting. I am paying Rs xy- per month to my wife as a maintenance. I don’t think that I will get divorce for next of couple of years too. I am of 3X now. What to do?
Secondly, Since 20xx, I have been fighting DV case …<few more details removed>
Please suggest what to do.
Another email received a few weeks back has the single word Divorce as the subject of email. followed by some details of the problem in email body.
Another email sender says he already has some proofs of wife’s adultery, and he asks suggestion on about how to get further proofs so as to file adultery case on wife’s paramour, and the email’s subject also mentions the word divorce. So evidently, our suggestions if given will be used not only to file criminal case (assuming that’s a real intention and not a ruse to get free help), but also to make the divorce case on wife stronger and fool-proof.
All these emails have been coming in spite of the fact that it is clearly mentioned on the website contact form that we don’t take divorce queries, and can’t give guidance on that. Instead people are cautioned to read our standard post on divorce queries: Why Indian men should be very careful in filing divorce
And it’s not only the emails, similar requests are coming regularly about joining our Facebook group where people say that they need to divorce wife as their reason for joining the group. Needless to say, the disclaimer in that post about us not giving divorce advice is conveniently ignored by these needy souls.
In this post, it is already explained why MRAs don’t give guidance on divorce… and the gist is that most people who file divorce don’t have the patience (even if in rare cases they have good evidence), to deal with the long process of fighting divorce and other inevitable cases filed on them by wife after they file divorce. Since they don’t have patience, they agree to monetary settlement with wife after 1-2 years, and then any time and effort spent by MRA on them goes waste, and actually harms men’s rights by setting one more bad example. An MRA being a rational man wants to make good use of his time, and of course doesn’t want to spend effort where the end result is one more ex-wife enriching herself on unjustified financial settlement from ex-husband.
In this post I will explain the reasoning the other subtle points why no MRAs in India will give guidance on divorce. It is likely some people will continue to send divorce related emails even then, but this post sets the record straight, and is for those souls who are perplexed why they don’t get divorce advice from MRAs, when so much of other advice – arising from same cause of a matrimonial issue — like how to fight maintenance cases/498A etc. is being given freely and liberally.
There is no entitlement to a social worker/MRA’s time and labour
I believe Indians while growing up have such a highly protective environment within the family and home, and that follows with over-protective parenting even when the children are already grown up into adults and even having got married themselves; that many people come to assume natural availability of such protective and caring behaviour even outside the family and close friends. It reflects in our organisational structures which are built towards creating a benevolent/paternalistic kind of environment, where loyalty is given more importance than performance and meritocracy; and it is easier to survive with below average work as long as one is loyal, than the other way round.
Basically MRAs are also social workers, since they are trying to reform things in society/laws etc. and are doing it for free (or a very nominal charge if at all). MRAs don’t normally get associated with the term social work, since that term usually invokes images of feeding or taking care of orphaned children, or providing life skills to destitute women. The maxim of “women and children first” applies to social work also, to a large degree. Men have to fend for themselves.
To take an analogy: If I find there are many poor people in my locality, and they would be quite happy to get free food sometimes, and I start distributing free sandwiches for such poor people every Saturday afternoon; then the end result will be that many people are happy and not hungry anymore for one meal at least.
The critics (there always will be) may come from their closet and start their expert commentary like: “why sandwiches only?, why not aloo-poori sometimes”, “sandwich is not an Indian enough meal “, “it would be better to serve daal chaawal”, OR “this is not a complete nutritious meal” etc. etc..
But if any of these critics have to implement any of these suggestions themselves, or even share the load, they will be nowhere to be seen.
Now a most interesting thing is: In the line of men’s rights work which is invisible to 95-99% of population, the critics come from the ranks of those asking for help, themselves.
It would be like a poor person who comes regularly to get the free sandwiches, but then always complains that no sweet dish is given afterwards. He has the choice of either not coming for free sandwiches anymore, to go to some more benevolent person who gives free sweets also, or to become self-reliant and not ask for free meals from anyone else.
The people who are coming to men’s rights forums asking for divorce guidance are like the poor people who got the sandwiches well and good, but they want the sweet also, even though it was never promised to be distributed in the first place.
You can get the free sandwich because someone is happy to give it freely, but that doesn’t entitle you to a free sweet dish also. The MRA who is giving guidance may appear like a mai-baap, god’s next avatar on earth, or whatever else, but actually he’s just another human who is spending some of his precious limited time left after his job/business hours, and other responsibilities to parents, family etc.
Divorce is not a virtuous deed or a social good
Many men who are facing hugely troublesome and tormenting situation in married life, and divorce seems to be a remedy; tend to forget that while divorce may be their freedom, for society in general, and for good reasons, it is not considered a virtue to marry and then divorce, especially if there are child(ren). If there are no children, then in my opinion it becomes entirely about two individuals, and whatever good or bad things are happening between them, at least there is no collateral damage on the children, and subsequently on rest of society. Throughout history society always had lot of benefits and interest in stable and long marriages (only of heterosexual kind) of its members, because that’s the best environment to raise children; and it’s only last few decades where western mainstream media and other variety of morons have started proclaiming that divorce can also be cool, or it’s about individual freedom to find better mate, rainbow families, social fatherhood, and all that nonsense, for which western societies will be paying a heavy price in next few decades at least until it is set right. Or if it is not set right, western civilization will end as it is known so far, or be subsumed or merged with a different kind of culture.
So if anyone believes that divorce is not a sign of personal or social virtue, then for them to give advice on divorce is a path fraught with huge moral responsibility, because they have to ensure that such advice is rendered only to those who are being victims of a cruel and totally unreasonable spouse, who is unwilling even to look at his/her ways, leave alone mend them.
Why paid guidance then?
Some critics and busybodies will ask the question: “If MRAs like you give advice for free, why there is mention of paid guidance on MRI site?”. Well, Sherlock Holmes, consider for a moment that people like you were the main reason behind it.
The reason I disclosed about four emails in beginning of post asking about divorce is precisely the same. These emails have been coming AFTER mentioning clearly in contact form that emails asking about divorce guidance will be ignored.
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So it can be imagined how many people will be sending emails about divorce if we hadn’t put that disclaimer. Putting disclaimer about paid guidance also communicates a clear intention that one has to take this-divorce-thing lot more seriously, because generally people will take things seriously when they have to pay for it. If it was being given for free, then anyone may try to walk in through the door, hoping to get a ‘counselling’ on “what are my options?”. No brother, at the time you got married, staying married was the only option, and that’s how society and laws should ensure marriage stays. Divorce should remain option for extreme cases, and person should have to prove fault or cruelty by the other spouse to get divorce. Else it will become a free for all. In fact, it has been seen that many men have now started approaching MRAs for advice on how to ‘fix’ the wife etc., which is not what MRAs are supposed to guide on, and if MRAs decided to educate people about divorce, there will be a rush of people coming in the door trying to learn one more technique to beat the wife into submission.
The basic reasons for not giving free guidance on divorce are already explained. Also, a lot of the time MRAs’ guidance is ignored in favour of advice by lawyer, because presumably advice one pays for (lawyer’s) must be better than the free (MRA’s) version. So quite a bit of time of MRAs gets wasted, but it’s part of of the social work. While allowing some waste of time and effort in advice on fighting false cases etc may be ok, no one has the time to indulge divorce-seekers (which is not a cause) with free advice and see that time and advice go down the drain.
Here are more reasons for providing only paid guidance on divorce:
- Some people are too shy or ashamed or whatever and don’t want to join the free online groups or weekly meetings and discuss their case in front of others. Their only other recourse is to read articles on internet, and then of course the lawyers. The problem is that they may get persuaded to choose an option that the lawyer wants and is comfortable with, rather than evaluating all possible options. There is a segment of such people who will not join any men’s group, and will choose their destiny based on lawyers’ advice alone, and we think they can do better overall by taking some advice from us, even if paid. Also, if they save some money on divorce settlement/legal fees etc, indirectly it helps men’s rights by reducing the flow of money into divorce and false DV industry. While stopping the money flow to zero is the ideal goal, it’s not a bad idea to reduce it to whatever extent possible. If we don’t give paid guidance, such people will be lost to divorce and DV industry.
- Some are willing and trust to get guidance about divorce from us, probably they don’t trust lawyers enough for same guidance, and probably they think it’s worthwhile to pay to get guidance from an MRA also who is not a lawyer. One reason for this could be that unlike a lawyer, we have no financial interest if you file divorce or don’t file divorce or whatever else, because we don’t earn like lawyers do by filing petitions and appearing in court hearings. So it’s purely about assessing strengths and weaknesses of the situation, the evidences one has, the psychological state and mental toughness of the person, and giving advice based on that. A lawyer may lose a client and fees by giving right advice, because they get paid lot more for advocate’s work and very little for the advice part. So there is a conflict of interest for advocate in refusing a client, or telling a client that their case is weak and not likely to succeed in court. We have no hesitation in telling anyone that their case is weak, or they don’t have sufficient evidence for case to succeed. Similarly, when someone has good evidence of wife’s wrong-doing or income etc, we will give the right advice to use it fully in divorce case or to reduce maintenance, rather than always-tell-court-willing-to-take-back-wife kind of routinely peddled advice by divorce industry practitioners.
- Some people keep asking for and expect one to one consultation even when it is clearly mentioned that MRAs provide guidance in groups only – both offline and online. If one gets 30 minute of one to one time with an MRA, it should be considered to be one’s lucky day rather than an entitlement. If people don’t mind paying for one to one consultation, then they have an option which they didn’t have before.
- Many people have talked to multiple lawyers, have enough experience with them and have become tired of their refusal to listen to client’s suggestions, or give proper information to client about court procedures, and strategy to use.
Who can help me then?
So my wife is cruel, torturing me, threatening suicide, not doing any work in the house, suspecting me for having affair when there is none, chatting or calling male ‘friends’ almost everyday; and add to that a number of other situations where men are forced to consider the option of divorcing wife.
I went to a lawyer but he didn’t guarantee anything. I went to internet and everyone’s saying not to file divorce. But I can’t live with my wife, I need divorce, plz help me!!! (3 exclamation marks are always good ).
To the extent that a man doesn’t go about asking strangers about guidance on who to marry, how to marry, where to book the honeymoon trip to etc., it’s also only right that a man shouldn’t go about asking strangers on how to get divorce.
Getting married is considered a social good, getting divorced is not. So if at all, one should be asking people for free guidance on how to select a marriage partner, and some may be happy to share their thoughts, but asking the same about divorce is not going to work.
So finally: here’s the summary.
Free advice on Good things: ok.
Free advice on Bad things: not done.
The only person who can help you is yourselves.