Friends divorcing - what to do?


My wife and I are friends with a Catholic couple who have begun the proceedings for a divorce. The mother has asked if she and children can stay at our house as they go through the process. What to do? We want to offer a place to stay for those in need, but would that be an act of enabling/supporting the divorce itself?


I think you would be supporting the children in giving them a stable and Catholic home to live in while their lives are torn apart. Be that rock in the storm for them.

You may not be able to stop the divorce, but you don’t know the immensity of the impact you may have on the rest of their lives by being the only thing they know they can count on at such a time.

How I would have loved such a home when my own parents were divorcing, instead of passing back and forth between grandparents and temporary homes of my separated parents. :frowning:



You don’t know the reasons for this. I’m glad my friends didn’t wonder about “enabling” when they helped me through my divorce. The laws of the country favor the person who wants out of the marriage. If you have papers served on you, there is NOTHING you can do to stop the other person! But you DO have to go deeply into debt to afford a lawyer to defend your housing and custody rights.

Is there abuse going on? Adultery? Abandonment? Why is she having to leave her house with children? Usually the courts let the mother and children stay in the house. She could be a huge victim in all of this and she needs friends, not people worrying if they are enabling.

Be forwarned that a divorce can take months or years. Do you need a bunch of people living in your house going through a lot of grief and stress? That’s quite a load to take on. I was glad to stay in my house and have my privacy as I was grieving my marriage. And estranged husbands have a history of coming to places where the wives are and kids are and sometimes it can get unpleasant. Do you want that to be your house?

I think she needs help finding a place to stay in the long run or a way to stay in her own home.


Actually, very few divorces have anything to do with abuse or adultery as stated reason. The biggest bulk are filed by women for reasons like “lack of emotional fulfilment.” As to the housing issue, decades ago that was true. However, alimony and related concepts are for all practical purposes dead. There could be many reasons why the woman can’t stay, the house may not be community property if you live in a CP state. Even if it is the house belongs equally to both spouses. If one doesn’t have the financial resources to buy out the other’s interest the house must be sold. She may have been bought out, if the property is lease held she might not be on the lease and thus have no right to stay, and so on.


The advent of no-fault divorce has changed the official reasons for filings. But that doesn’t mean the amount of adultery or abuse has gone down. That kind of thing must be proved. And it can cost a lot to hire a PI. You can know you were cheated on and yet not have the proof to put it in a court document. I personally didn’t have official proof of abuse because I never called the police on him. (Lots of reasons I won’t go into here. ) I detect a little bit of anti-woman bias in your post there. Lots of men divorce their wives because they want a younger woman. But they don’t list that in the divorce papers either.

I see your point on why the woman doesn’t stay in the house.


Love them, pray for them and refuse to take sides.


It is so difficult to go through a divorce. In many ways its worse than death. I was so glad I had my parents to live with for a schoolyear, as my divorce was finalized. For a year previous to that, I had to live with my cheating spouse, who was generating many elaborate stories out of everyday events so he could create a case to sue for custody.

There are other deaths that occur during divorce - friends you thought were true just back away and disappear from your life, not wanting anything to do with ugly divorce - not wanting to “dirty themselves” with that. It is a lonely time and anything you can do to extend a hand is truly being Christ to them.

Listening helps. Determining ahead of time to remain neutral, and “not take sides” is really about self-preservation. Its espcially cruel if one is an innocent party to the divorce. No-fault divorce is an invention of the courts. In real life, there is often a very real fault. Also, often the guilty one, if he is not willing to admit his own guilt, will accuse his spouse, to avoid accusing himself. Sympathetic understanding of the trials helps the innocent party feel validated and process through it.

I am so gratreful to those who helped me through my difficult time. I want to be there for anyone else who goes through that. One needs practical and emotional support. At such a vulnerable time, the hurts and indifferneces cut deep, and the little gifts of sympathy or understanding or support mean so very, very much.


Your friend will need all the support you can give her and the children. Please be kind but this is a very emotional decision for you to make. Is she being abused? Why is she leaving the house with the children?


Yes, because I don’t automatically assume the man is at fault I must be “anti-woman.” Do men cheat on their wives, of course they do. Then again women cheat on their husbands and cry foul when a state passes a law saying men don’t have to pay child support to the products of their wife’s adultery. Nor does it change the fact that many women make unfounded claims of abuse and even worse, sexual abuse against the children, to try and extort more money. Nor does it change the fact that women often alienate fathers from their children lives and family courts won’t do anything about it. This pop culture mythology that divorce is about evil men leaving their wonderful loyal wives for 20 somethings is something that offends me as a man. Not to say it never happens, but it’s a lot more rare than some people have an interest in making it seem common would have you believe. The bulk of divorces are filed by women for reasons that have nothing to do with adultery or abuse. If you’re being abused call the cops. If you wait until your divorce to bring it up then you can hardly be shocked when it seems like you’re making it up. Men also have rights, and just because a woman says something doesn’t make it so. We certainly wouldn’t uphold a man’s claim of adultery against his wife just because he said so during a divorce. I certainly sympathize with any victim of spousal abuse, women and men alike. However, courts are places of fact and evidence and any court that simply took someone’s word for it would be executing a great injustice.


I agree and I’m a woman. I’ve known women who were manipulative and emotionally abusive toward their husbands but claimed otherwise. They have told me straight out that a woman needs to manipulate to get the man (husband) to do what she wants (wife). These were good men who jumped through hoops for their wives (two-three jobs to pay for her children’s-from a preious marriage- college while she worked part time and traveled around the world the other half b/c her husband couldn’t go becaus of working too much, just an example).


Actually, very few divorces have anything to do with abuse or adultery as stated reason. The biggest bulk are filed by women for reasons like "lack of emotional fulfilment.

Here's your quote.  Do you have statistics to back this horrible allegation up?  That women, who often have the most to lose during a divorce, economically, socially and emotionally, are the ones who file the most for arbitrary or shallow reasons?  Your quote does seem to be woman-bashing.

When there is a divorce, the woman's income goes down 66 percent and the man's goes up 33%.  No woman I know would file lightly.

And there are many reasons women don't call the cops on an abuser.  Probably someone you know is getting abused, and you're completely unaware of it.   Don't mock someone or say they're making it up until you've really had a heart to heart with a victim of domestic violence.


Offer to watch the kids when needed, but keep her “family” out of your house! If she need somewhere to live, she should rely upon her family, not yours.

(Once entrenched they’ll be hard to get rid of, and you’ll immediately find yourselves in the middle of a nasty situation… phone calls, messages, mail, solicitations, etc. Don’t go here.)

Let her deal with the truths of divorce, not you. Be a supportive friend, but not a counselor or welfare provider.


Jay has a point. I wouldn’t have wanted to live with me and my three babies while I was going through my divorce, either time he walked out.


Here’s your quote. Do you have statistics to back this horrible allegation up? That women, who often have the most to lose during a divorce, economically, socially and emotionally, are the ones who file the most for arbitrary or shallow reasons? Your quote does seem to be woman-bashing.

It is a statisitical fact that women are the ones that file for the bulk of divorces.
(you can find signficant data on the subject) It’s amazing how pointing out that women aren’t perfect is “woman bashing” but it’s okay to imply most men are getting divorces so they can marry younger women. The fact is in most divorces both parties contribute to them. However, it rather seems if women had so much to lose in divorce they wouldn’t be so quick to file for them.

When there is a divorce, the woman’s income goes down 66 percent and the man’s goes up 33%. No woman I know would file lightly.

It’s rather rude when you imply someone else is being dishonest by demanding sources and then present information as factual without supporting it yourself. In situations of divorce without children that may be true, it certainly is not when children are involved.

And there are many reasons women don’t call the cops on an abuser. Probably someone you know is getting abused, and you’re completely unaware of it. Don’t mock someone or say they’re making it up until you’ve really had a heart to heart with a victim of domestic violence.

That’s their choice, can’t make anyone use the resources out there. No, it is not probable that someone I know is being abused. The attempt to make abuse common place is merely a political agenda, there’s no evidence for it. The reality is the vast majority of domestic violence is “spousal combative behavior” and in the majority of cases the woman is the one that esclates the situation to physical violence. These situations are much more dangerous for men as men defend themselves with only their hands while women are prone to the use of weapons.
Courts are places of facts and evidence, when someone makes an assertation that cannot be supported with facts and evidence it has no creditability. I never claimed that all women who claimed to be abused were making it up, however, it is simply not creditable when the supposed abuse just happens to only appear during the divorce proceedings when there may be financial gain to be had of it. Equally so, it is not uncommon for women to level unfounded charges of abuse or sexual abuse of children.

The problem here isn’t woman bashing, it’s a silly belief that women are always right and men are always wrong. That’s absurd, both are humans with all the faults that come with that condition.


I’m a woman and I don’t know any women like this. I’m sure they must exist somewhere. But the women I know stick with their marriages through thick and thin, and those I know who have left their husbands left for really, really compelling reasons. The husband was just not ever committed, or of good will.


Are you familiar with their situation? Once my sister wanted to
divorce her husband and could her and the kids live with me till
they got on their own? I said I’m sorry but I didn’t want to support
the breakup of the marriage. Later, she went on medication to
keep herself from having crying fits and this frightened me. I told her to come if she still wants to, but she said she changed her
mind about the divorce. They have now been married 20 years
and she is very glad that she didn’t get a divorce.
What to do really depends a lot on being familiar with their


I had the same reaction to CCM08. He seemed to be women-bashing to me, as well. I felt he had a bitter experience, and was generalizing about the motives of all women in general.

I looked up his statistic, and it is just a general quote in an article, uncited, saying that women file for the majority of the divorces. Who says? How much? 51%? What does that statistic of mysterious origin say??

Also I point out, that if a woman is being abused, or feel her children are not safe, then she would be the one to file.

That was certainly the case with me. My income took a huge dive, his went way up. He cheated, he filed. Its been the case in every instance that I know of.

A friend had a very abusive husband. She had to leave for her baby’s safety. He is on record for physcially abusing her, yet he had 50-50 custody. She had to pay over $200,000 in court costs over the years so she owns nothing and rents small apartments and works long hours day in and day out. Her ex owns two lakeside homes, yet she had to pay him child support (he knows how to hide his income, and can afford good lawyers).

Right. I have. And you know what they say? That bruises and broken bones are not the devastating wounds - its verbal abuse that is shattering, and is much worse than anything physical. Verbal abuse is far more common, and there are no burises or borken bones to prove it happened. Like all crimes, it takes place in private - when there are no witnesses. Its almost always a husband abusing a wife. Men are the primary verbal abusors, so says verbal abuse expert and author Patricia Evans. Over 90% of the time, its the man. If I recall, I think she says its closer to 100% (just less than). And I know this is the reason for many divorces. Its simply a problem that is more common to man than woman. (Like murder, for example. Women murder. But a murderer is much more likely to be a man.) Abuse is about controlling another person, and its a man’s problem. After all, God didn’t tell Adam that, as a result of sin being in the world now, “Your wife will rule over you.”


CCM08’s answers scare me. And I don’t want this thread to be hijacked from the original premise. We don’t know that woman’s motives for filing for divorce. I just know from all the women I’ve talked to and been friends with, (and the men,) that 8 of ten times there has been a divorce, the man was the reason. Either his adultery, his abusiveness, his addictions…

CCM08 doesn’t understand that when a woman has a man who beats the snot out of her, if she calls the cops, he will eventually get out and be MADDER. And a restraining order isn’t worth the piece of paper it’s written on. Sure women use weapons. Because a man can often kill a woman with his bare hands. My husband outweighed me by 80 lbs and was a foot taller. No, women don’t escalate if they can help it. Because you don’t want to make the abuser mad because this time he might kill you.

CCMO8 doesn’t think he knows any abused wives. No, they just aren’t telling him because he might tell them they’re at fault for escalating things. In fact, most of them are real good at hiding it, and not even admitting it to themselves. It’s all about the facade, until you can’t even maintain that anymore.

The OP needs to know if she opens her house to this woman if abuse is involved. A lot of times a woman is scared to initiate divorce with an abuser because then she is taking the control away from him and she is in MUCH more danger of violence. The divorce period is often when abuse turns to spousal killing. OP does not want to be in the crossfire.

As for the devastating financial effects of divorce… I’m glad CCMO8 only knows men who don’t conceal income and pay more than the minimum child support. Every single mom I know got the financial shaft big time. I want to live in his world where all the men are good and generous to their ex wives and children. And by the way, men lie and accuse wives of child abuse and spousal abuse also. That car drives both ways down the street.

OP needs to know that she could be taking on the support and welfare of a family that is about to be plunged into $40K worth of legal bills and financial ruin. And this could be an open-ended situation. At what point do you kick a woman and her kids out on the street?

Eliza, you are correct about the verbal abuse. It ALWAYS goes with physical abuse, and it’s about destroying the spirit, not just the body.

To the OP, you haven’t given too many details about this situation, and just what kind of trouble you’re opening yourself up to. If a marriage was ugly, the divorce will get uglier. And the law isn’t about facts and what is provable in a court of law. It’s about who has the most expensive lawyer and who is willing to perjure and lie and twist things to win, and who wants to destroy the other person the most. Once that divorce can is opened, you can’t control where it goes. It has a multiplier effect. My advice to anyone contemplating it is MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GOOD REASON BEFORE YOU GO DOWN THAT ROAD! Otherwise, just take steak knives and disembowel each other in the kitchen with the children watching. It will have the same effect and be much cheaper in the long run.


I think thats a possibility, but not a probability. Also, this woman-in-crisis may not have a family to turn to for some reason - they may not be practically or emotionally able to lend her a hand. If Naknak and his wife don’t feel they can discern the sitation for themselves, as far as if this women is genuinely in need, perhaps an aware third party could advise them.

I am so graeful I had family to turn to, and I often wondered what I would have done if I didn’t have them. My friend with the physically abusive husband was living many hours from her family, was working, and had an infant when she was going through her crisis. She had been too busy with to make any friends in this new town - except her husbands friends, and he made sure they turned on her. I feel sick for her when she tells me of this awful time in her life.

That may be all thats called for in some cases, but in many crisis situations, a wounded, hurting person needs a hand extended in Christian charity.

Maybe Naknak and his wife are thinking of doing this because their Guardian Angels are urging them to. Maybe Nanak and his wife are people who have the capacity to do this.

Our country neighbors, a few years back, were a young couple with two young children and professional jobs. They invited another family in crisis to live with them for what ended up being two or three years. They did not have an especially large house - they just shared what they had. I couldn’t believe it myself at the time - I had my hands full trying to keep my husband peaceful - I couldn’t imagine crowding our (plentiful) space like that for such an extended time! But they could, and they did, and they lived harminously. Now he (the husband) is superintendent of schools out there, and their kids are young, well-adjusted teens and their marriage is happy. So, I think they just had the capacity to share, and they did, and God has blessed their lives.


Thanks to everyone for all the replies, you have given some food for thought with all the varied responses. :slight_smile: We are going to find out more about the situation and make our decision accordingly. At this point, we are not really concerned about the enabling factor, but we just need to learn a bit more about what’s going on, as we are friends with both parties.

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