Even the most amicable of divorces throw up unexpected challenges for families. Being prepared for some of these obstacles makes the process much less overwhelming. We have put together 6 things that our clients regularly tell us that they wish they’d known.
This will all come to an end
The divorce process does take time. It may seem never ending and that can make it hard to visualise your life beyond divorce and what you need financially. When negotiating the finances, it is important to remember that divorce is a process and it will be concluded. It can be tempting to settle for less than you are entitled to just to get things over quicker but remember, this is your once chance to ensure that you provide financially for your future. You will have to live with your financial settlement for a lot longer than you will be going through the divorce itself.
Friends may not stick around
Divorce does strange things to a couple’s friendships. If you have socialised with other couples before divorce, the relationships within the group will inevitably change following a break up and each of your social circles will naturally evolve. People tell us that some friends who rallied round in the early days drifted off as the divorce progressed. This can be really hard to deal with but knowing that it’s so common can help it feel less personal. If you lose a few people along the way, this will only clear room for new positive and meaningful friendships. Don’t ever feel alone, there are also lots of different ways to get extra emotional support should you need it.
Your ex will act out of character
When you have been married to someone for years you might think that there’s very little you don’t know about them. You’d be wrong. Divorce alters the dynamics between people who have built a relationship on love and trust and the process of becoming two independent people instead of one unit generates survival instincts in both. As well as seeing another side of your spouse, you may notice another side to yourself too. If you expect your other half to be amenable to all your requests as you negotiate a settlement, you are probably not being realistic. Accept that both of you have your own agendas now and you will need to find some common ground to reach an agreement that is fair to both of you.
Your children may be upset but will bounce back
As a parent your instinct is to protect your child from being hurt. This can mean that you and your spouse go to extreme lengths to make sure they are happy and worry about any signs they show of unhappiness. It is normal for children to feel upset when their parents split up. Acknowledging and understanding their emotions and giving them time to talk about how they feel is an important part of parenting through divorce. Don’t feel guilty about the fact they may feel unsettled and instead channel your energy into supporting them through it. Children are incredibly resilient and will ultimately be happy having two separate homes where both parents are happy.
Know your limits
When you are feeling emotionally drained you will feel vulnerable and be prone to making rash decisions. This is why we always advise people to think about their non-negotiables when they are in a calm state of mind. These might be that you need a house close to your child’s school or that you need to be able to afford to take your children on holiday every summer. Whatever it is, take time to think about the areas that you simply won’t compromise on – and the sooner the better. When you have done that, make sure you discuss these with your solicitor so they understand what is important to you and can help you achieve the outcome you really want.
Divorce is a grieving process
Even if you are the person who initiated the divorce, you will need to give yourself time to adjust to a new way of life and the loss of your previous one. Nobody enters into marriage expecting it to end and the fact that it has ended can bring with it feelings of failure, regret, guilt and loneliness. It can also feel scary and uncertain at times, especially before you know what you are likely to receive financially. These are completely normal emotions to be experiencing and are part of a healthy healing process. You will need to re-discover yourself and re-gain control by setting some new personal and financial goals. Look beyond your current situation to a time when it is all behind you. This can give you a fresh perspective to enable you to make the best financial decisions as part of your divorce.
Our solicitors at Harrogate Family Law are experienced in supporting people through the divorce process and will help you look beyond the present and plan for the future. Call us free on 01423 594 680 to talk to us today.
Emma Doughty is a family lawyer who provides straightforward, easy to understand advice. She is passionate about helping people and using her expertise to achieve the best outcome possible. She has been described by her clients as “tremendous and incredibly supportive”.
Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.