Family Matters: Don’t let divorce destroy your family

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No-one is above the law so don’t even try it.

That was the message handed out with the eight-month jail sentences for shamed former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne and the ex who dobbed on him out of sheer spite.

They had cheated his speeding points and 10 years to the day they came a cropper.

For sure, they were made an example of for what is a relatively minor offence. But damned rightly.

Probably thousands of couples have done the same thing and got away with it, which isn’t right either. But it matters less because they weren’t high-ranking government figures who should be squeaky-clean.

But to me, the strongest message of all from this whole tawdry debacle is this: don’t let your divorce screw up your family. Show your children that forgiveness is better than bitterness.

Right from the start, though, the consideration for the children seems to have been last on the list for Huhne and Pryce.

Back in 2003, when Huhne thought up his little plan to avoid speeding points, it was his reputation and his career that were uppermost in his mind. No doubt he minimised the risks to himself. Lots of people do it. He wasn’t likely to get caught.

But did he ever think about the implications on his children if dad got discovered, thrown out of his job and jailed?

Time passed, though. Nothing happened. Then in a fresh act of supreme selfishness, he went off with another woman behind the back of the wife who had done him the good turn, not to mention borne him three children and supported his career through a 26-year marriage.

But when rejected Vicky Pryce became hellbent on revenge, she didn’t think of the kids, either. She set out to destroy him – and her family went down with him.

During the court cases that raged for months while two shrewd, intelligent people tried to beat the legal system with lies and excuses, the Huhne family’s dirty laundry, and personal pain, were hung out to air.

My mother’s heart bled for their youngest son. The furious, bitter texts he had written as a devastated 18-year-old to the father he held responsible for everything were read out as evidence. How mortifying for that young man. He was on his mother’s side, yet effectively her bid to out her husband had exposed him too. Right the way through this ego-fuelled Greek tragedy, Huhne and Pryce both put themselves before their children’s needs.

And what now? If their children carry the bitter ways they have been taught into their own relationships, will they take the blame, or attempt to wriggle out of that one, too?