Divorce/Spousal Abuse

The petitioner had filed divorce against her husband, who at the behest of his mother, threw his wife out of the matrimonial home. The wife had frequent arguments with her mother in law over housework, and a very bitter relationship formed. With nowhere else to tum, the woman moved in with her sister who provided for her for around a year. Unhappy with the burden placed upon her sister, she sought divorce and maintenance to pay back for the care that she viewed as a debt. A breakdown in trust at the foundation of the relationship of the husband and wife was immediately visible in mediation; neither trusted the words of the other, constantly questioning one another's motivations. The tension proved too much to bear, and the two fought, yelling loudly and fervently. At the end of this explosion of frustration and mistrust, both parties suddenly became very quiet. After a period of silence, the husband looked up, and apologized to his wife for the physical and emotional abuse she suffered at his hands and the hands of his mother. In tum, the wife apologized for berating his mother whenever she requested care. With the apologies, trust began to bud between the parties and negotiations continued. They began to speak with one another of what each could do to sustain the marriage, and how to help one another. It would not be instantaneous, the wife claimed, but she believed she would be capable of trusting her husband in time as long as he helped to ensure that the marriage worked, and that he kept his promises. She dropped the case, and the parties reunited as husband and wife.