When I say to people that I do a lot of family law work, invariably one of the questions I get asked is what in my experience is the biggest single cause of marital breakup and disharmony. Without any doubt I can say that the biggest single cause is the breakdown in trust that can occur between two people living together over several years.
This was really brought home to me last week when I met a client who told me that his marriage had got into difficulties because his wife discovered a substantial number of letters from creditors, which he had kept hidden from her. The fact that large sums of money was due was bad enough for his wife but it was mainly the fact that he had kept it all hidden from her and then hadn’t dealt with the problem. She confronted him and they agreed a course of action, which meant that he had to contact various creditors and deal with the various debts that had been created. Unfortunately he did not contact them and did not deal with them.
So the problem was first of all he hid away letters demanding money and then when this was discovered, he agreed to follow up on various items and then did not do so.
By the time clients come to me, the difficulties are almost always irretrievable.
The fundamental point in all of this is that if you have problems, the first thing you have to do is confront them. Then you have to tell your partner that you will deal with the problem but then, most critical of all, you have to actually deal with them. Confronting the problem and saying you will deal with them are perhaps the easy part – you then have to pick up the phone or write the letter and actually deal with the problem. This can be extraordinarily difficult but if it doesn’t happen, the consequences can be…. well, I don’t have to spell it out.