If your divorce is going badly (and let’s face it, few of them go without an upset hitch) and you have children, you may have to face up to the reality that you might end up in court.
This last resort route is expensive for all concerned, both emotionally and financially and it’s potentially excruciatingly painful for your children.
Despite any vile behaviours exhibited by your ex, you must fight and resist the urge to go on to your favourite social media outlets and wax lyrical about how awful they are.
If you do end up standing in front of a judge in due course, they will not take kindly to your actions and it may work against you if you do, which would be especially upsetting if you have been wearing the goodies uniform all along and simply using FaceTwit to let off steam.
Hold your composure, bite your tongue and rise above the temptation.
If you have living parents and you’re getting divorced, some days you might not know which element feels worse; the divorce or the parental grilling.
Some parents feel they have a sacred right to knowing the ins and outs of the entire situation and that you have an obligation to fill in all the gaps; guess what, they don’t and you don’t!
It can be impossibly hard to untie the Gordian knot and explain everything in digestible chunks to them and equally challenging to abstain from confronting those complicated layers of interpersonal events that transpire between you and your ex. You might feel caught between the devil and the deep blue sea in your decision.
Ultimately, your mental health and well being are paramount and should take precedent over discussions with parents, siblings, actually anyone come to that. If you don’t wish to discuss it, make a firm but polite request in the first instance and if they go on about it, take a stronger tone and turn the request into an instruction.
You need to do all you can to stay on top of things emotionally and your rights deserve to be respected.
During the initial meetings with your solicitor, you will be expected to provide them with a diverse array of information. It will help them and save you time and money if you prepare your responses efficiently in advance of any meetings.
Your initial meeting should certainly include as much of the following as is possible. Clear and concise reasons why you want a divorce including information on any domestic abuse (emotional, mental, financial, sexual and physical), addresses of both parties with separation dates and details, the names, ages, residency and contact arrangements of any children you have, all of your financial information (salary, savings, pension, mortgage/rent, benefits, debts), background information on related issues, ie dependency on drug/alcohol, infidelity and your marriage certificate and birth certificate or passport for proof of ID.
Be on the ball from the offset and invest in a foolscap lever arch file and some plastic wallets and do your level best to go into every meeting with all the paperwork that pertains to your case.
Your remaining coffers will be delighted you did.
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.
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.