Even the most amicable of divorces throw up unexpected challenges for families going through the process. Being prepared for some of these obstacles can help enormously. We have put together some of those that our clients mention to us most frequently that they wish they’d known before divorce.
This will all come to an end
Divorce is a process and it will come to a conclusion. It might not seem like it when you’re going through it and that makes it hard to visualise your life beyond divorce. This is extremely important when you are negotiating a fair outcome. It can be tempting to settle for second best just to get things over quickly but remember, you will be divorced for a lot longer than you will be going through a divorce, and your future is important.
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. 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
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.
Know your limits
When you are feeling emotionally drained you will feel vulnerable too and prone to rash decision-making. This is why we always advise people to think about their non-negotiables when they are in a calm state of mind before divorce when they are early in the process. These might be that you want a house within walking distance of your child’s school or that you want 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 tell your solicitor so that they 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 be scary at times as you look ahead at an uncertain future. This is where it can help to take time to think about what your future might look like and where you would like to be in five years’ time. By looking beyond your current situation to a time when it is all behind you can help to give some perspective that enables you to make strategic decisions.
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 on 01423 594 680 to talk to us today.
Andrew Meehan is an experienced family lawyer specialising in complex divorces involving significant or hidden assets, as well as cases involving children.
He is recommended for family law by both Chambers 2019 (York, Hull and surrounding regions) and the Legal 500 2018 (Leeds/West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire region).
Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be replied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.