Going through a divorce can be very stressful, particularly when it wasn’t your choice to separate. With 15 years’ experience in helping people through the process, Fran Hipperson, family partner at B P Collins, offers advice to help you though the next few months.
Ask for some time
You may feel devastated when your partner wants to divorce, so it is always worth asking for some time to process the situation, so that you can both move forward constructively. Very rarely do I meet someone who, six months down the line, does not feel better, more positive and less overwhelmed than they did in the grief-stricken days of early separation. Try to keep communicating with your partner and keep discussions polite, as that should make it easier to agree on any child arrangements and your finances.
Having a discussion in a neutral environment, where you and your former partner can air how you feel and why, can be helpful, both to the formal divorce process and relations with your former partner going forward. This is particularly important when children are involved.
Avoid posting on social media
Don’t post anything online, that you would not be happy being read by your ex-partner. It is understandable that you might feel the urge to vent in the heat of the moment, however this can have unintended consequences and make things more acrimonious for you in the middle of your divorce. It is also possible that your children could read these posts leading to accusations of parental alienation.
Dealing with the fear of losing your income or your children
With all of the emotional turmoil you may be experiencing, having to worry about your future finances and child arrangements may add to your anxiety. If you’re financially dependent on your spouse, you can ask for suitable arrangements to be made. If your spouse refuses to make adequate provision, you can apply to the court for an interim financial order, requesting your spouse to meet your financial needs until a final agreement is reached.
Choose a lawyer who will listen to you
Look for a specialist, experienced family lawyer with whom you have a rapport and you do not feel intimidated by. It is often a good idea to get advice early on since if you know what to expect, that should remove some of the uncertainty that is often felt, and discussions on a more informed basis are usually more constructive.
Lawyers give advice, but remember it is your divorce and it is you who gives the instructions. Be wary of a lawyer who promises you the earth or who always agrees with everything that you say. While you may need firm guidance, you need to remain true to your own values and principles.
Look after yourself
Take time for some self-care. Do things that you love, make sure you get outdoors, perhaps join a new group or try a new activity and surround yourself with supportive family and friends who will be positive and uplifting.