It might come as an awful shock if your doctor confirms one of your greatest fears; your divorce is causing you to suffer with anxiety or depression.
You are not alone, don’t worry. According to the UK’s Mental Health Foundation, around 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental problem in the course of a year and 1 in 6 in the past week.
Don’t fight the diagnosis or the recommended course of action and if your doctor advises you to take medication, don’t fear getting off antidepressants before you’ve swallowed a tablet.
Rather, consider the consequences of not paying attention to their informed judgement on your current state. All things pass and you will be back on your feet again in good time.
I’m aware the tips of late have dealt with large and looming practical topics. It’s time for one designed to keep your physical and mental levels as buoyant as possible through what may be an incredibly draining time for you.
People generally don’t like to grumble about things they have little control over, but remember your doctor is ethically bound to listen to the situation you find yourself in. If elements of it are biting into your wellbeing, your doctor may end up being more valuable than your most trusted friend.
It’s your doctor’s job to help you stay as balanced as possible, through and beyond your divorce. Heed their advice and be sure to ask them about other supportive networks and non-chemical based, holistic products and therapies too.
If they prescribe anything to help you get through it, once you get to the end of your troublesome phase, make a further appointment with them to discuss a withdrawal plan, don’t make that judgment yourself and just stop, be a patient patient.
If you live in England or Wales and have decided to divorce your ex, you’ll do well to visit the H M Courts and Tribunal Service’s website at gov.uk/divorce, particularly if you are keen to keep your costs to a minimum.
This link will direct you to the form finder section for Divorce; if you struggle to do so, simply search for the following forms. Begin by downloading the guidance notes of D183: Divorce and Dissolution, followed by D184: I Want to Get a Divorce / Dissolution and if you have children you’ll also need D185. Bilingual forms and guidance notes are also available.
When you’re ready for the big one, you’ll need D8: the Divorce / Dissolution/ (Judicial) Separation Petition. It’s a very detailed 8 page PDF, you can fill it in online and print the three copies you need. One is for you to keep, the other two must be submitted to a nearby divorce court and they’ll forward one of them on to your soon to be ex-spouse.
To be honest, even if you do decide to use a solicitor to represent you, it’s a very good idea to fill the D8 in with a clear head, a large cup of tea and a box of tissues. I suspect by the time you get to ‘The Prayer’ on page 8, you’ll need them all.
If you’ve sat in the shadow of a joint bank account with your ex, once you’re the other side of their dominance, enjoy the excitement and liberation of opening a new account just for you, as you assert yourself in your newly separated phase.
Ensure that all passwords to access your money and associated information are different to your old ones and choose another PIN code too.
It’s a strong mark of independence and if you haven’t been allowed to do your own banking in the past, it might seem completely daunting but if your ex was a financial controller, it’s easy to understand why you might feel that way.
The bank staff will be only too pleased to walk you through your options for personal and online banking and it’ll soon become second nature to be in the driving seat of your finances.
If your ex was a control freak and trapped in a mental box, you can be sure that even after the divorce, they’ll chance their arm again and try to regain the control they (thought they) had.
If you’ve broken away from that relationship and are now back on your feet, that’s where you need to stay. With enormous bravery you removed yourself from that oppressive situation and you do not need to revisit the horror or hurt ever again.
It may well be that you need to seek out a steadying influence, a close and dear friend who knows what you had to endure, in order for you to see the light again.
Ask them to help you up from any temporary dips of sadness and they will. Anyone who observed your descent when you were with your ex, will know the value of patience, reassurance and perseverance.
You are a survivor, never forget that!
Recently, I talked about separation, divorce and the situation if you have/had a mortgage and are based in the UK. What happens if you’re renting?
If you have a sole tenancy that is not in your name, but in the name of the person you’re married to, they will be liable to pay the rent for as long as the tenancy continues.
If your ex has left the property and the rent isn’t being paid by them and arrears build up, the landlord may take action to evict you.
If your ex-partner is no longer paying any rent, you do have the right to take over and pay the rent and the landlord cannot legally refuse to accept it from you.
If the landlord says they aren’t prepared to accept your rent monies, proceed to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau immediately, you do have rights and you need guidance and advice as soon as possible. Good luck.
For divorce related correspondence that is simply too painful to read, don’t create a pile of unopened heartache, ask a trusted friend or family member to read it through with you, or for you, instead.
It may be beneficial to select somebody who is divorced themselves, as they’ll no doubt be able to recall how upsetting and difficult this simple task can be. An empathetic, understanding soul won’t mind at all and they are less likely to miss an important detail or deadline because they weren’t digesting the information with tear-filled eyes.
You stand a better chance of not missing urgent deadlines, which could have resulted in costly errors and finally, your impassive assistant should encourage you to pen responses with more equilibrium and less vitriol; ultimately, the only person to benefit from spiteful letters back and forth, are solicitors.
In the wake of a very high profile celebrity divorce case here in the UK, I was asked to speak on a handful of mid-morning BBC radio stations on their case and the general topic of divorce and domestic abuse.
I was asked several times whether people threw the towel in on their marriages quicker than had happened in the past. Prior to my research on the subject, I would have said that as a society (Western world anyway) we have embraced an almost throwaway attitude towards things like our mobile phones, old computers, TVs and so on. We can replace and upgrade their spec in a heartbeat and it is possible that we’ve transported that same attitude into our marriages.
It’s more likely, however, that with a spiralling population with enormous financial pressures on their shoulders to keep up with the Joneses’ that the value of that most precious of institutions may have slipped through our fingers a tad.
I think more emphasis on the work/life balance in favour of life and subsequent better communication will help us to hold onto the good and overcome the bad.
Is it time to book a day off and give your faltering marriage one last shot? Believe me, walking away from anything with your hands held high, saying you’ve done all you can, will bring you comfort in the future.
‘Divorce is crap – get over it!’ It’s a strange take on what could easily be termed one of the most stressful life events, ever, but this is advice that may well be sent your way from acquaintances who have suffered terribly inside their own divorces.
For some people, there are no soft boundaries for self-exploration during this difficult time, they prefer to take a cut and dry approach, hence the sharply direct tone in their words.
Unemotional pragmatism is all they need to get by, yet for others, a deeper understanding of the process is required for them to make sense of what’s going on in head and heart. I’m guessing you are one such soul, seeking tools to help you get through it; I hope my Coping Tips are doing just that.
In essence however, the above advice is right, it’s just not delivered in the most compassionate way, but do hold onto the fact that you will indeed get over it, in your time, in your way.
If you have children together, be sure to make a note on the calendar of every night the children stay with you, or with your ex.
As mentioned here recently, the Google calendar facility is very easy to use and you don’t have to look at it all the time. You can deselect it from everyday view, then it won’t act as a constant reminder of any angst you may be suffering but it’s easy enough to access when you need to update it.
It may seem completely unnecessary, particularly if everything is running along amicably between you and your ex, however, the nicest of worms can complete the bizarrest of u-turns and on the topic of your children, it is better to be safe than sorry.
If child-benefit related authorities get involved, they will want a detailed account of who stayed where and you may also have to provide details to the solicitors too.
If you never need to use it, that’s wonderful, but if you do, you’ll be glad you’ve got it covered.