You may find yourself steering towards mediation as a positive way of communicating with your ex as you urgently seek financial equitability and an end to your divorce.
Mediation has a great many benefits. A grown up with clout and a degree of power will work to keep reins on both parties and will urge them towards controlled and constructive dialogue that will bring this phase of the divorce to a close. Their very presence has an air of calm and structure and they will work hard to expedite matters.
If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, they will even offer you the option of sitting in a separate room to your ex, so you don’t have to suffer even a threat of intimidation.
However, this service comes at a cost and a fairly substantial one at that. If your ex has proposed a particular mediation company to do the job and you are unhappy with their proposal and fees, shop around, there are many companies who offer this service and the prices vary.
You don’t have to jump on the first bus to freedom; another will be along shortly and the fare might be cheaper.
If you think you are having a rough time of it with your divorce, be glad you’re not a celebrity.
Their high profile ding dongs play out in front of audiences of millions of adoring fans and invariably, the media will favour one side of the partnership.
The ‘bad guy’ will be hung, drawn and quartered in front of their friends, family and those who appreciate their acting/music/writing etc.
You can almost guarantee that whatever spin is being put on their story, it’s a world away from the simple truth that’s going on behind their gated closed doors.
Spend 10 minutes perusing the internet news gossip columns for who is divorcing whom, who they’re reportedly sleeping with, why they deserve to be taken to the cleaners and so on and you’ll soon be grateful that your audience is considerably smaller.
They still bleed, they still hurt and they have no way to let the world know about the injustices they are facing, it’ll just be another sheet of newspaper that’ll wrap tomorrow’s fish and chips.
What do you do when your ex, who has been an endless font of suffering and torment since you split up by behaving in a truly vile manner, starts being nice to you?
Well, if they have a serious track record of presenting badly, I suggest you do nothing at all!
You will have undoubtedly spent weeks, maybe even months, shoring up your defences and for a very good reason; not to let them or their hurtful volatility back in again.
Keep your protective barrier in place and don’t waste too much time cogitating whether or not they have have had a personality transplant.
a) it’s highly unlikely and b) what’s the point?
Do you plan to let them back into your life? Do you plan on hanging out with them again? Are you going to leave yourself open to a harpoon of heartache piercing your inner sanctum? I doubt it.
Think leopards. Think spots.
Today’s tip follows on from yesterday’s advice to those living in England and Wales about form D8, the Divorce / Dissolution/ (Judicial) Separation Petition, which you need to fill in to file for divorce; see www.gov.uk/divorce/file-for-divorce.
Of all the sections you have to complete on that comprehensive 8 page form, the worst bit has to be Part 6, where you need to qualify why you’re divorcing them.
The supporting notes claim that one or two sentences will do, but the compulsion to retch everything out is often irresistible.
In respect of adultery, you don’t need to name the other person but you do need to give times and dates of when you believe it took place.
In respect of unreasonable behaviour, give details of their usual conduct, or list up to half a dozen of the more serious incidents with dates, including the most recent.
In respect of desertion, state the date, details around the circumstances of it and confirmation that you’ve lived apart since then.
In respect of 2 or 5 years of separation, supply the date, brief details of how it transpired and if it’s the 2 year separation, give confirmation that your ex consents to the divorce being granted.
Whatever the reason, it can hurt to lay it out in black and white, but that hurt is part of your journey to closure.
If you live in England or Wales and have decided to divorce your ex, you’ll do well to visit the UK Government’s website at www.gov.uk/divorce/file-for-divorce, particularly if you are keen to keep your costs to a minimum.
This link will direct you to a page with links to many forms you will need in order to get Divorced; 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 have children, you’re no doubt up to your ears in the summer holidays, or as I occasionally call it, the 6 week childcare marathon!
If you are in the early days of separation and sorting out new living accommodation, you will do well to drop the head of year and form tutor for your child a note to explain what’s occurred before they head back to school in September.
It’s very likely they will be picking up email through the holiday and if you can forewarn them of your change in circumstances, they will be in the best position to offer additional assistance to your child upon their return.
Also, if you are struggling financially and have any trip commitments that need to be paid for early in the new term, you may find you qualify for emergency assistance; don’t be too proud to accept it, that’s what the fund exists for, emergencies just like yours.
Things will undoubtedly be tricky for everyone until the dust settles and the more you can do to smooth the way at school, the better it will be for all concerned, particularly for your child.
We often receive emails asking how long it takes to get a divorce in the UK.
That’s a bit like asking how long is a proverbial piece of divorce-flavoured string.
At the other end of the scale, you may be interested to know that you have to have been married for a year in order to petition for a divorce.
As for bringing things to a close however, if and only if, your separation is straightforward and neither of you are contesting anything, if you have prepared all of your financial declaration papers and your respective banks, pension, investment and mortgage companies are swift in their confirmation of your financial status, it could conclude in as little as 16 weeks, but this is exceptionally fast.
This also runs with the assumption that neither party has pushed to appear in court to finalise things. It’s worth noting that most divorces in the UK take around a year from start to finish.
The more compliant you both are, the quicker it’ll be over and done with, but don’t be tempted to swap expedition for being short changed.
A more equitable split may be worth the fight and the wait.
If you are feeling particularly vulnerable, it’s easy to take a critical wound from somebody who throws you a cutting remark.
How do you protect yourself against them shooting a harpoon directly underneath your protective barrier?
Actually, I wish I had the answer, especially as I took a scathing sleight recently that got right under my skin for a while until I had time to analyse it.
Once the scab had dried, I saw it for what it was; a loose friend of the ex who had clearly made their mind up about what transpired in my divorce and they were goading me to lay out all the bloody details therein.
It’s a fundamental human flaw in some people to be provocative with a view to being downright nosey and finding out all the juicy gossip.
Wash the blood off of your wound, ignore them or tell them to get lost, put the kettle on and think about how shallow and sad their existence must be, if all they can do is poke you with their nasty little stick.
People can be incredibly judgmental and vocal when it comes to other peoples’ divorces.
Parents and in-laws, siblings and best friends, they’ll all have an opinion on what they perceive you to have done to your ex, or on what’s been done to you, by your ex.
I think sometimes it’s a harder battle fighting the souls who are goading your situation on, like bloodthirsty spectators cheering from the comfort and safety of their seat at a gladiator ring.
If you have a few rallying supporters or enemies of this type in your divorce, you might be feeling the fatigue from the high maintenance cost these individuals put on their association with you.
You are allowed to say, ‘I’m not doing this anymore, leave me be and let me get on with it’, if you feel so inclined.
A divorce is only ever two people wide at the end of the day, I’ve said that many times before and believe it wholeheartedly to be true.
You’ve enough on your plate.
Practicalities regarding banking arrangements come up regularly here and this is a very important tip to ensure everyone that needs to know, is aware of the fact that you have separated.
If you have a joint bank account, you should contact the bank immediately upon separation to make the dividing lines very clear from the outset and open new accounts as necessary. However, in the UK certainly, it’s worth noting that even if you have removed yourself from a joint bank account, if your ex still has cheque books that bear both of your names, unless instructed otherwise, they can continue to use those cheque books, even though you have been removed from the account!
It seems ludicrous and I must be honest, when my divorce was concluding, my ex presented a cheque that bore my name and I was beside myself with fury and disbelief. I spoke to the bank and explained the situation and they cancelled the book immediately.
All unused cheques should have been sent back to them for cancelling but as it still had the same account number, they didn’t enforce it.
It’s more than just a name and by a long shot too.