During a divorce it feels like everything is changing: your home life, daily routine, and, even your sense of identity.
It’s a time of emotional, financial and practical upheaval. You need to make important decisions, often when you feel least able to. And you may be continuing to work, care for children and generally doing your best to carry on as normal. In this difficult situation, is it possible to have a ‘healthy’ divorce?
1. Revenge…A dish best left out of legal proceedings.
The law is, above all things, practical and dispassionate. Keep looking at the bigger picture. If your ex is being completely unreasonable, resist the temptation to stoop to their level. Trust your family lawyer to be firm where necessary and let them know if you feel bullied or powerless so they can redress the balance fairly. Don’t underestimate the satisfaction that will come when you look back in the knowledge that you behaved with restraint and dignity. Sometimes the best ‘revenge’ is showing someone how far you have moved on.
2. Keep it civil, for the sake of the children.
Separating couples may agree on very little, but they both want the best for their children. Accepting that you have an ongoing relationship with your child’s other parent helps. Keep children informed, jointly if possible, in an age appropriate way and give them lots of reassurance. Just because children are not physically in the middle of an argument, it does not mean that they are not feeling its effects. They need both of you at this time more than ever.
3. Why can’t they just move on?
Divorcing spouses go through different stages, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Whilst you may have been planning to leave your spouse for some time they may not have had time to come to terms with what living without you will mean.Trust his or her lawyer, together with your ex’s family and friends, to move things along. Forcing the pace is often counterproductive and costly.
4. Forget the stiff upper lip (sometimes).
Don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends, family, your doctor, church, a divorce coach or counsellor if you are struggling. It is natural to feel angry, out of control, disappointed, hurt and resentful but clear heads make better decisions. Your family lawyer will be experienced in working with you whilst you experience these emotions but he or she will not be a trained counsellor. Make sure you get the best legal and emotional advice you can.