In Japan in the early 1600’s and for over 250 years, a common man could divorce his wife by writing her a short letter stating he no longer wished to be married.
It was known as a mikudari-han, which translates to three lines and a half.
If it was accepted by the woman, the divorce was essentially complete. In a great many cases, the letter didn’t state the reasons for wanting a divorce, even if the wife were solely responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. Detailed explanations of what had brought the man to this point were discouraged, as apportioning the blame would hold up the proceedings.
Thankfully, modern practices are dramatically different, however, the reason this piqued my attention was to encourage you to consider writing such a letter if you are about to ask for a divorce; not with the intention of sending it, but with the hope that you’ll sit quietly with calm reserve and put all of your thoughts on paper.
Getting your head in the right space is vital and a serious note to self is a good place to begin.
There are times when only dancing will do. Tap, ballet, belly or just plain old rock and roll.
If you are feeling fragile having recently split from your ex, or perhaps you are knee-deep in Decree Nisi, a spot of foot tapping might be just what you need.
Organise a night out with chums to a local pub or club (if you have bountiful energy), put your glad rags on and go dancin’.
If you seek something a little more demure and sedate, seek out a venue that does dance classes, tango, waltz or any other ballroom, how about Latin or salsa?
You will have a perfect opportunity to get fit, throw yourself around to relieve your stresses and you never know, you might just meet a lovely new partner…a dance partner that is!
Slow, slow, quick-quick, slooooow…
As the nights draw in and the Northern hemisphere heads towards winter, the mornings are darker and no doubt you will hear many people grumbling about it. With the Sun rising a little after 7am, you have a much easier opportunity to observe the sunrise.
Don’t just look from an upstairs window, pay attention to the weather forecasts for the next few days and make a plan to be somewhere with a good view to the East, a hilltop perhaps, or if you are lucky enough to be by the sea a cliff top.
Just as the Sun rises, so you will again. The darkness of your divorce days will brighten, and as the spring brings warmer times, so you too will find a better time if you open your heart to it.
Clean Break Orders are agreements that have been stamped and sealed by the courts and they state that neither party has grounds to make a financial claim on their ex, once their divorce has settled.
It stands firm even in the event of an untimely death soon after the divorce and is generally suitable if there are no children under 18 that need providing for.
If one of the parties earns considerably less than the other, a court may rule the balance of equity be more favourable towards them by way of a lump sum so they are able to sustain themselves in the future, especially as there isn’t going to be any maintenance paid to help them.
If there are children under the age of 18 living predominantly or wholly with one parent, regular, reliable contributions must be paid by the absent parent to assist with their education and welfare. If this fails to be upheld, the CSA are generally more than happy to get involved.
Severing all financial ties with your ex is a refreshing way of clearing the deck, getting back on your feet and starting over.
It is held that Buddha said “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
It is very easy to feel angry about your situation as you go through the emotional roller-coaster that is divorce. “Why did my ex leave?” or if you were the one who left “Why did they behave in such a way that I had to leave?”
You can find simple answers to any question such as this, but the simple answers will not remove your anger. Asking “But why?” is a self defeating loop that will not help.
Calm acceptance of your situation is the only way to squash the anger you may be feeling. Work on that, knowing that it is what it is and anger will not improve it. The only route to happiness is by learning from previous experiences and accepting your current position, whilst working out how to improve it.
Let go of that hot coal and allow the cool breeze to remove the heat from your anger.
There’s nothing like the arrival of a new month to make me feel like I’ve been given an untouched slice of time, a fresh segment of minutes that hold great possibilities.
If you enter November thinking it’s just another 30 days of solicitors dragging their heels and procrastinating ex’s throwing spanners in the works, you’ll miss the joy of this pivotal period of time. As the cold really sets in, the trees change visually, enormously and you’ll see time swiftly passing as the winds blow the days along.
The difference of upholding an upbeat and optimistic perspective, or maintaining a downbeat dour one, is poles apart and I know which I prefer.
Look at the trees and think about all the necessary tasks required to be undertaken during your divorce and imagine them as leaves. Tick them off as efficiently as you can and wait for your tree to lose all its foliage, then prepare for a short sleep before you burst forth and blossom again.
You have to die before you can live again.
When I was young I regularly heard the expression ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ used as an encouragement to get me to try something new.
During a divorce it pays to remember this phrase, because, ultimately what is the worst that can happen?
You could lose out on the lion’s share of your property. You could lose some of your friends. You will get to the end of it and I guarantee you will be a changed person.
It is up to you to decide if you are going to be a better person, a more tolerant person, a more loving person, or if the pain of divorce, whether you left or were left, is going to make you less trusting, more bitter and a more grumpy person.
Take positive action to learn from the situation you are in. Listen more, think harder about what matters to you and when you are ready to get back into the saddle you will find a more fulfilling relationship awaits.
If you are applying for a divorce in Scotland and have low finances, you may be exempt from paying those crippling court fees.
Some of the circumstances that will allow you to waiver the fees include:-
a) If you/your spouse/civil partner receive any of the following:-
income support or income based employment and support allowance
pension credit guarantee credit
working tax credit, including child tax credit (income conditions apply)
working tax credit, including a disability element (income conditions apply)
working tax credit, including a severe disability element (income conditions apply)
b) Or if you are receiving:-
income based jobseekers allowance
You will need written proof from the DWP or the HMRC clearly stating that you are in receipt of said benefits. Your solicitor will be able to advise you further, or if you are representing yourself, be sure to speak to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for additional guidance.
If your relationship has broken down but you both feel that divorce is a step too far, perhaps because you think there might be a hope for reconciliation in the future, perhaps a judicial separation might be worth considering.
It is a way for a married couple to formalise a separation, it isn’t terribly common but it often rears its head as an option when religious objections to divorce are thrown into the mix.
It follows much the same procedure as a divorce and financial matters are overseen by the court leaving both parties with agreeable and equitable shares all being well. The courts also get involved if there are any child residency issues to resolve.
Once everything has finalised, it will show that there are no legal reasons for you to have to live together.
The most important point to raise is you are only legally separated, you are not free to remarry. You should consider the consequences very carefully indeed and if you are in any doubt as to whether you should split up formally at all, perhaps a bout of intensive counselling is in order to try to save your day.
I met a wonderful chap today called Nigel. He recounted details of his divorce of over 20 years ago, like it were yesterday.
It was a highly disruptive and wearisome period of his life and like many divorces it lasted almost a year.
Whilst that might not be a time frame you want to face, a year is a fairly good estimate of how long it takes to wrap the process up.
To keep his disposition upbeat, he used an interesting technique to mark the time by purchasing a pack of playing cards.
He shuffled them thoroughly and each week, he took a new card from the top of the pack and focused his energy on that card. He’d doodle it on paperwork and draw it in various ways to keep his mind occupied. At the end of the week, he placed it face down in a new pile and picked another.
Bizarrely, he said everything concluded on the week of the Ace of Hearts; what a perfect card to start a new game.