Search
  • Amanda

Help! I'm Getting Divorced. First steps...

Divorce isn’t something we plan for. We don’t imagine ourselves in this situation and so, we don’t easily understand the steps we need to take when it happens.


January is divorce season and so, many people find themselves at the precipice of the divorce process with absolutely no idea of what to do first.


If this is you, you have some thinking to do and some big decisions to make. These do not have to be set in stone now but if you can have an idea of your direction of travel, it will save you time, money and emotional energy as you go through the process.


Setting the scene:

Consider the following:


How amicable will my divorce be and how complicated is the division of our assets?

This will help you to decide if you need a solicitor to help you and if you do, how much that is likely to cost.


Many of us immediately call a family law solicitor in the hope that they will “sort it all out”. This approach is somewhat naive and very unfair on solicitors. The legal process is only a part of divorce and for some, legal representation is not even necessary.


If it is just the two of you and your assets are easily quantifiable, then it could be a very simple split of assets and away you go.


Regrettably though, most will require legal support.


Are there children involved, what is best for them and can that be easily agreed?

Often the most emotive element of any separation, a child contact agreement is something which must be resolved quickly. Children need stability, security and reliability. They will want to know exactly where they will be and when. The sooner you can agree contact, however interim, the better.


How will I survive financially and where will I live, whilst this is being resolved?

This is crucial; the process can be a long winded one and it’s important to know that you have a roof over your head and enough money to live on whilst things are being decided.


How am I going to protect my well-being?

Whatever position you start the divorce process in, it is vital to consider your own well-being. You may be the instigator and crippled with overwhelming feelings of guilt, or perhaps you are an unwilling party, the divorce being forced upon you and as a result you are feeling betrayed, frightened and rejected, or maybe it’s a mutual decision and you are just sad that your marriage has ended.


Think about what emotional support you have available and consider professional assistance too. A therapist or coach can be invaluable as you go through divorce.


Physically; healthy eating and exercise will stand you in good stead. You have a journey to endure and you need to be in top shape to complete it.



---------------------------------------


Once you have an idea of the landscape, then you can delve a little deeper and think about the steps you now need to take:


Try to re-frame your divorce as an opportunity

Whatever your start point, Divorce is a massive life change and is rarely viewed as a positive development. It may serve you well to try really hard to re-frame it as an opportunity.


Q: What am I going to do now?

A: Whatever I want!


Visualise your life post-divorce

There is no doubt that the divorce process itself can be traumatic and exhausting. It does not last forever though and there is life after divorce. Thinking about what that life looks like will help you get there:


- Where will I live?

- What will I live on?

- How will my financial situation be different (assets, incomings and outgoings)

- How will I fund that life?

- Where will my children be and how will my relationship with them look?

- Will I be alone or dating?

- What will my social life be like?


Now obviously, many of these questions may be determined by what you can achieve financially in the divorce. However, if you try to be realistic and fair, then you will have an idea of where you want to be and can adapt it as you go along.


Decide if you need a solicitor

If your finances are simple, there are few ongoing commitments (such as children) and your asset split is clear, then it is possible you can do an online divorce with little legal support. Services such as Wikivorce walk you through the process.


Many however, will need legal support and if that is you, then having an idea of what you want, which is both realistic and achievable will help you work effectively with your solicitor. Consider:


Whatever your start point, Divorce is a massive life change and is rarely viewed as a positive development. It may serve you well to try really hard to re-frame it as an opportunity.

o What assets do we both have?

o Are those easily quantifiable or will they require expert valuation? (e.g. a business)

o Will there be any disagreement as to what is a joint asset and what is not? (e.g. property held before marriage or a business that is required to operate in order to pay future maintenance.)

o Will there be disagreement over what share of those assets each party should take?

o What are your respective earning potentials going forward?

o Are there children to support and if so for how long?

o Are there any health conditions to consider?


These are only some of the considerations. Every divorce is unique to those involved and so you have to consider what is important to you and your family.


You then need to find a solicitor who is the right fit for you. As well as the cost and their reputation, you should consider their experience in the areas that are important to you (child cases, international law, domestic violence etc) but also, do you think this is somebody you can work with? Do they have the same values? Are they a dedicated litigator or do they take a more pragmatic approach?


Once you have thought all of the above through, you will be able to instruct a solicitor and remain in control of the process.


Be a parent

Children are often the casualties of divorce. They have not asked for this or had any say in whether it happens or not, they cannot change or influence it. A parent puts their children’s needs first however difficult that may be.


Take care of yourself

Get support: Families and friends are often the front-line support for those going through divorce and they are invaluable but recognise that they are not unbiased and that they may get fatigued as the process goes on. Professional support in the form of a divorce coach is always an option, as is the emotional support offered by a therapist.


Well-being: As mentioned above, your physical and mental well-being has to be a priority as this unfolds. Keep yourself strong and focus on your goals.


Let go: For many, this is the most difficult step. If your marriage has ended, it is time for a new chapter. You cannot start that chapter if you continue to re-read the previous pages.


Good luck. I hope you positively survive your divorce and thrive in your exciting new life.






209 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All