I mentioned recently that the first meeting with your solicitor should be free if you’ve window shopped around and done your homework.
Bear in mind, you also have an opportunity to lay out some of the details during the preliminary telephone call you have with them, as you assess the responses of the person you may decide to represent you in your divorce.
Trust your gut instinct; if they are overtly aggressive and appear rottweilerish in their approach, consider whether this is the right person for the job. You will have to lay all your laundry out before them, it helps if they have a comfortably approachable air about them.
If they aren’t and if you don’t feel a reasonable connection with them, don’t feel intimidated, you are well within your rights to glean as much information from them as the free time will allow and then retreat to think about things and make your decision.
You are not obliged to engage them, so unless all the right bells are ringing, don’t!
It can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with being left by your spouse, especially when it has occurred seemingly out of the blue.
In the immediate aftermath, you may feel as though you are swimming against a relentless tide of guilt searching desperately for answers, during which you examine every aspect of yourself to see how or why it could have happened. You may spend an equally lengthy amount of time asking yourself why you never saw it coming. How could they behave so normally when in reality, they must have been planning to exit the relationship?
The simple truth is, you may never get to the bottom of it. In time, your ex might furnish you with a list of reasons, but they may be loosely veiled excuses hiding a completely ulterior motive.
If you have been left drowning in confusion, try to concentrate your focus on what you do know, your mental health and well being are paramount now and it’s not the time to let paranoia creep in to fill you with guilt for a scroll full of self-doubt that is probably entirely unfounded.
Life is complicated enough at the best of times. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a doctor or counsellor to help you pull your threads back together, put one foot in front of the other and move gently forward.
I spoke to a dear chum today who is sadly very ill. She isn’t going to get better, in fact, over the next few years she is likely to get much worse.
She said, ‘I’ve got to the stage where I’m fed up with people telling me to take things easy, not do too much, not push my limits and particularly, not to let myself get upset about things. Yes my life is a struggle, but I’ve decided to indulge in the happy for as long as my body and mind will let me. When I crash and burn, so be it. With a little rest, I get back on my feet again and am ready for my next mad adventure, which I embrace with open arms until I fall once more’.
If you turn apply that analogy to recovering from/during a divorce, it makes sense too. If you feel like partying until you can cope with nothing more, do it! Have a glass more than you should, eat late, stay up watching all the rubbish on the TV until your eyes are streaky and then crash and recover. You will. The sun will come up again and you can live with a bit of regret for being naughty, but if you live life and never nibble at the naughty, you’ll never know how sweet it is to recover from the occasional hangover of life.
Breathe, live, push the button and don’t die wondering…
Trust me when I say, the hoo haa of divorce can get you down before it has started, throughout the real heated stuff in the middle and long after that Decree Absolute has landed on your doormat; oh man, those ex’s can have a lasting sting!
If your day is getting you down, take heed from a tip designed to soothe your senses and calm your heart rate, the natural way.
Seek out a herb garden at a nearby park, a National Trust property or a show garden near you if you are lucky enough to find one and simply sit in the middle of it and enjoy it on every level.
The evocative scent of rosemary and lavender is sure to have a positive effect on you, especially if you run your fingers over the feathery foliage and indulge the oils.
Sage is another wonder, as is mint in all it’s glorious varieties.
If you enjoy what you smell, feel and see, try to create a chill-out sensory zone in your garden or even on the porch if you don’t have any outside space. You only need a few herbs like the ones listed above to get started and you’ll be surprised how powerful the little plants can be.
Recently, I’ve covered some pretty grounding topics, namely death and money; today it’s time to blend both in the same tip.
The time period between splitting up and getting the ball-of-divorce rolling can be a little grey in respect of your worth following an untimely demise, despite the fact that you might think once you’re living independently from your ex, what’s yours really is yours.
If you have children, it is unsurprisingly layered in even more bureaucracy and red tape.
It is time well invested sitting quietly with a very large cup of tea and deciding what you want to happen with your estate, chattel and children if you have any, then speaking to a solicitor and setting things in stone to ensure your wishes are adhered to.
Turn well wishes into will wishes as you start your new life.
If your ex has been a particularly awful soul, despite the incredible temptation you may have to take scissors to what’s left in their wardrobe, don’t chop up your ex’s clothes, it’s an awful waste.
Donate them to a local charity shop or refuge, or if you have the time and energy, Ebay them and make a few pounds, but remember, you’ll have to physically handle them and with each item you touch, a memory or two is likely to come back and tap you on the shoulder.
Take the most time effective and emotionally peaceful route to clearing that space and when you’ve done so, wipe the space over with a lavender oil covered cloth to complete the cleansing process.
Paperwork, oh paperwork; the bane of an apprentice divorcee.
I know precisely how frustrating it feels to have yet another fat envelope full of forms plop onto the doormat, especially when they require your best handwriting to fill them all in.
So when your Self-Assessment Tax forms arrive, I completely understand the temptation to leave them to the last possible moment to complete; let’s face it, you don’t actually have to do them until next year, technically!
If you can cope with a bit of online hoo haa you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much quicker the process is.
It may be in your best interests to complete your return at the earliest opportunity and if you have children be sure to complete your Child Tax Credit forms too, especially if you are struggling along financially. You may find once the tax offices join their dots, you might be in line for a rebate but more importantly, if the monetary swing has swung the other way and you act swiftly, you’ll not incur an enormous bill that you need to repay.
Last week, I talked about mentally preparing yourself for Father’s Day. Well, here it is, are you ready?
Are you ready for the guilty/inadequate feelings you may endure for sending a card on behalf of your children/not sending a card on behalf of your children/not receiving a card and questioning your very existence/encouraging them to send one and failing/coping with a difficult conversation with children regarding sending one to a step-parent/getting a card and questioning why that’s all they’ve done if you haven’t seen them in a while/sending a card to your ex’s dad, or simply doing something for your own dad, knowing he’s going to tear you off a strip for splitting up?
Cut it how you may, if you have children or a living father, you are unlikely to get through the day emotionally unscathed.
Look forward to the bit at the end of the day when you can plop yourself into a warm bath and relive any really good bits (if there were any) and wash the rough stuff away. Tomorrow is another day; hopefully next year will be a little easier.
Trust me when I tell you that it is possible to feel a pang of barbed hurt when other people make light of your useless ex.
I’m not entirely sure why it happens, especially if the ex has been a particularly masterfully useless waste of space, it just does.
The best way to deal with exterior comments is to do your level best to let them wash over you. It was somebody else’s conversation after all, you just caught wind of it, you didn’t initiate it and you probably didn’t need reminding of how dreadful they were; presumably that was part of the reason you parted company.
So, flip the kettle on and go wash your hands of the words. Don’t engage in a response, it’s not worth it.
Whilst you are enveloped in the maelstrom of divorce (and indeed at many other busy junctures in your future) it can be very hard – if not impossible – to successfully meet all the targets you set for yourself.
Be it getting the laundry off the line before the rain comes, or getting the roast in the oven for a perfect mid-day meal, picking the kids up from a friends house, having your hair cut, mowing the lawn, phoning your mother or getting your Coping Tip of the Day scheduled on the computer so it goes out at midnight!
Don’t overstretch yourself, mentally, physically or emotionally if you can help it. Learn how to say, ‘Actually, no I can’t’ and cut yourself some slack.
If you don’t meet all of your deadlines, it’s unlikely that anyone will die as a result (unless you are an anaesthetist) so slow down your pace and let a few things fall through the gaps.