Couples should avoid courts,if possible, in case of Divorce!

The 30 year marriage between NRM Vice Chairman Al Hajj Moses Kigongo and his wife Olive Kigongo hit the rocks late last year.

The 30 year marriage between NRM Vice Chairman Al Hajj Moses Kigongo and his wife Olive Kigongo hit the rocks late last year.

It is always the lawyers who win in a divorce, Not the husband, nor the wife.

1. Divorce proceedings are adversarial and confrontational and turn the parties into enemies.If young children are involved, their lives are completely turned upside down because the parties will no longer be able to make sensible arrangements. Each wants to influence the children their own way. Each wants to hurt the other. My ex-wife for eg felt so embittered when the Headmistress of my primary school gave evidence in my favour in court, strongly recommending that I and not the mother should be given legal custody of the children even though Anna was only 6 moths old at the time.She went on to make many totally unfounded allegations against me, including attempted rape, domestic violence etc. The divorce turned us into such enemies that 15 years later I have never spoken to the woman again despite sincere apologies from her parents.

2. Whenever a couple step in court against each other, that is practically the end of the marriage, because court proceedings make no room for compromise but create animosity instead. Disputes that in the African setting are settled by the clan elders end up in court here in the UK with disastrous consequences.

3. Many women want to use the divorce courts to gain some advantage over the husband, without actually intending to divorce.

4. Many women have become materialistic and will feel embittered if they are excluded from the husband’s business. Many are motivated by a desire to grab the 50% share of assets.

5. Both parties will suffer great loss, whether in business or their careers. Having an unstable home environment has a terrible effect on a person’s performance and career progression. I consider it a minor miracle that I managed to bring up two children under 2 years of age completely on my own as a single parent and maintained a career and passed my law exams at the same time.

Very few men have ever achieved this feat. For two years, until she was 4, Anna went with me to work in the Law Centre in Paddington where I worked. My employers agreed to allow her to attend the creche that we run for children of clients. So my daily routine was to wake up at 6. AM get George and Anna dressed and fed, jump in a car to drop George in a nursery in Lewisham at 8 AM, drive along Old Kent Road to Paddington with Anna, work until 5 AM, rush home to pick up George before 6 PM (fine £15 per hour), do home work and read their bed time stories and put them to bed by 9.30 PM sharp. And then study for my law exams up to 3AM, waking up at 6AM to the same routine. And I did this day in and day out. I only had breaks when my two sisters came and took the children for alternating one week each month. Anna developed a habit of walking upstairs to my office, sometimes if I had to go to court, or attend important meetings,, my boss would take Anna to her home and work at home.I am very proud of the fact that I brought up my children on my own without much involvement from their mother, she only reconnected with them when they were 12+ and going to secondary school and could live relatively independently without all round parental attention. But this is not a situation I would wish on anyone else. My second wife, a black Caribbean woman found it very difficult to live with a man so dedicated to his children. I totally rejected her ultimatum to choose between her and Anna Maria. I had got so used to my children that another woman could not fit in my life again. I told her I would never leave my children for any woman in the world.

All my children have now left home for University, but I have no interest in having a wife again, I just do not have the energy any more. I might be tempted if I returned to Uganda or went to live in the Philippines permanently.

5. In the UK, as you must have noticed, even the government has now realised that Divorce is one of the greatest threats to social stability. It is at the root of child poverty. Today the government itself encourages couples who want to divorce to avoid going to court at all costs. It encourages Family Mediation and has poured a lot of money into this. Chances are that trained counselors will help couples look at their marriage critically and then decide whether divorce is the right option to take. The retired head of the Family Division, the branch of the High Court that handles divorces, wrote a very critical paper condemning the failure of the court over which she presided for over 20 years. She recommended the government to make Mediation compulsory. In the 20 years she sat in the Family Courts, she concluded 85% of the marriages could have been saved if they had gone through mediation Everyone looses in a divorce. I lost my house and as well as £150,000 in lawyers fees in my court battle with my ex-wife. But she never benefited from it at all as she has since lost the house in dubious deals with fellow Nigerians and is back living in a Council house.

If you have the ear of Mr and Mrs Kigongo, try to get them to go down the mediation route, even if at the end of it, they decide to divorce. They will find they will keep their dignity and respect and avoid washing all their dirty linen in court. It is obvious that Mrs Kigongo wants to undress Mr Kigongo and will not hesitate to do so unless sense prevails. I still maintain contact and communication with my second wife because we agreed to seperate on good terms. I simply told her I love my children more than I love her, and this is the truth. I told her if she forced me to choose between Anna and herself, then I would choose Anna without any hesitation at all. So we decided to end the relationship.

PS: I am not talking about For Profit Marriages where women marry for the money and not for love. You can always sense a marriage of convenience from a distance if you are a reasonably astute man. I am talking about marriages such as those of Paul McCartney whose one legged wife walked away with £20 million after two years of marriage. I don’t think Olive is a gold digger after 30 years of marriage, but even the head of the most steadfast women can be turned these days by the allure of money as well as revenge.

George Okello via UAH

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