As we approach Easter, it’s got me thinking.
At this time of year children are getting excited about the Easter Bunny and chocolate egg hunts, and some of the religious among us are preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, of His resurrection from the dead.
My thoughts wandered to the concept of ‘life after death’ and then, because of the work I do, of ‘life after divorce’.
Life After Divorce
You see, many of my clients frequently liken the breakdown of a marriage to a death, during which time they mourn the life, the lifestyle and perhaps a sense of their identity that is lost.
There’s no getting away from it, the end of any relationship can be both heart breaking, frightening and confusing, and the process of divorce for many can be incredibly difficult, painful, and beyond stressful.
It’s extremely common to experience a rollercoaster of emotions, both during the divorce and for a considerable time afterwards. Regardless of whether the divorce was instigated by you or your ex, it’s not unusual to feel relief, hope and excitement one moment and then consumed with sorrow, anger, confusion and anxiety the next.
You can feel lost, without direction or an action plan. Like many things in life, you don’t get a manual with divorce. So what do you do?
7 top tips to moving on
With an estimated 42% of marriages now ending in divorce, I’ve worked with many clients over the years and witnessed a huge range of divorce stories.
No two divorces are the same. However, whilst there will always be differences, there can be with coping strategies post-divorce. Life does go on and there is a life after divorce.
So here are seven of the most common strategies to help you move on with your life after divorce:
- Accept the divorce – this is the first step to moving on. The marriage is over, the divorce papers signed – accepting this completely will help you start to focus on your future.
- Let yourself grieve – regardless of your marriage and divorce experience, regardless of who instigated the divorce, there will be feelings of loss and grief – you need to allow yourself to recognise and mourn that loss.
- Look after yourself – it may sound obvious, but you must give yourself time to focus on you. It’s important to look after your health and find activities that help you relax, relieve stress or worry, and maybe even have fun.
- Talk and keep talking – you may not be a ‘talker’ and it may feel uncomfortable at first, but talking to friends, family or a therapist will help you work through feelings such as anger, bitterness and resentment post-divorce, leading to a more healthy outcome in the long-term and enabling you to ‘move on’ more effectively.
- Plan ahead – write a list of all the activities and hobbies you enjoy as well as the goals you have when you get through this difficult period. When you have good days, you can tick off what you’ve accomplished and visualise your progress. When you have bad days, use it as a reminder that you have a future ahead of you.
- Children first - co-parenting can be a breeze for some and a minefield for others, but the most important thing is to try to put your feelings to one side and put your children first. Whether it’s discussing who has the children at Christmas or arrangements over the summer holidays, try to remove all emotion from the discussion and focus on what will make the children happy.
- Get help – if time is passing and you’re struggling to cope, it’s possible you could benefit from support or advice - don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Counselling or therapy with organisations such as Relate can help with exploring issues and feelings about the divorce, maintaining a healthy relationship with your children and introducing new partners or step-families.
- If contact arrangements with your children aren’t working, it might be worth considering mediation or seeking legal advice in applying to the court for a Child Arrangement Order.
- You may have your decree absolute, but financial claims still exist as a consequence of the marriage therefore you should consider securing a clean-break order (in life and death) which would end any financial claims that exist between you and your former spouse, e.g. thus protecting current and future assets e.g. pension, property, income and capital. Even where there are no marital assets, a clean-break order is always sensible.
- Make a will. Remember your ex is next of kin and will inherit your estate under intestacy up to Decree Absolute if you don’t already have a will. After Decree Absolute, you should review your will in any event.
How we can help
At SH&Co., we know that only you can decide what you need and when you need it.
But we are here to help when you make that decision.
Whether it’s to assist with creating amicable and workable contact arrangements or provide legal advice on financial claims or court applications, we are here.
If you’d like more information or just to have a chat, call us on 01606 48777 to book yourself a FREE 30 minute appointment with one of our family lawyers or pop in to one of our FREE drop-in Family Law clinics.