In the UK, 42% of marriages end in divorce. This is a statistic that continues to rise, depending on the length of the marriage and the ages of both parties. Couples may try to keep the marriage together, but sometimes it just isn’t meant to be. There is no shame in needing/wanting a divorce, and you don’t need to go through it alone and uninformed.
Whilst we all hope for forever when we say I do; sometimes life has a different path for you and the divorce process is your next option. The divorce rate has been fluctuating as the years have gone by, leading to more open dialogue regarding the process and what exactly it involves. Now, more than ever, it is less frowned upon to get a divorce as society is beginning to recognize the hardships of marriage. We hold a much less one-dimensional view of relationships now and are more awake to the troubles of modern life.
However, a better societal attitude towards divorce does not make the process much easier. It is still an arduous experience, which indicates the importance of supporting those who need it. The following are things to consider when going through the divorce process and dealing with the aftermath of it too.
- The Effects of the Divorce Process Upon Children
If you and your spouse have had children during your marriage, you must carefully consider the effects that the divorce may have upon them.
Some children adapt to the idea of their parents separating very quickly and can actually develop better mental well-being, especially if their parents had a tumultuous marriage that affected their home life.
However, other young children can take up to 2 years to adjust to the separation of their parents; and can face challenges as a consequence of this. None of which is the parent’s fault, but can certainly be handled in a way that reduces the effects of these challenges.
The most common impacts of divorce on children are anger, anxiety and even mild depression. These effects of course vary with the age of the child when the parents separate. For example, it is often younger children whose academics suffer, and older children are at a much higher risk of experiencing anxiety.
Whilst some couples chose to stay in the marriage for the sake of ‘doing it for the children’, you should take the time to consider how you will support them in dealing with such a big change within their life after the divorce.
Therefore, putting in the effort with your spouse to establish a plan for co-parenting is vital in ensuring that your child or children have structure and adapt to the change well. As much as this can be hard to do, it will benefit your child or children massively if you and your spouse work together following the divorce. Even in the most aggressive separations, the mental well-being of your children is very important.
- Avoid Being Flippant With the Reasons for Divorce
When going through the divorce process, having a clear reason for divorce will help move the process along and ultimately help to achieve the end goal quicker. The grounds for divorce in the UK are the following:
- Unreasonable behaviour (in line with the ‘no-fault’ system in the UK)
- Separation of 2 years with consent
- Separation of 5 years – no consent needed.
In being flippant with the reason for your divorce, the process can go on for an extended period of time. A long legal battle is hardly what you want when already dealing with the emotional challenges of separation.
This is why it is important to work with your spouse to establish and stick to a firm reason for divorce. Going back and forth about why the marriage broke down is unproductive to the process as well as to your mental wellbeing. Sticking to one clear reason will avoid a long, exhaustive legal battle as well as avoid additional legal fees for the time spent doing this.
- Try to Emotionally Detach Yourself From the Process
Now, this is obviously a lot easier said than done. It is entirely normal to struggle emotionally during the divorce process. However, when emotions become involved, our judgement can get clouded and we end up doing things and making decisions that we might later regret.
It is advised that you spend the time to come to terms with what is happening, work to accept that the marriage didn’t work out and see it for what it is. It is completely valid to grieve the end of the relationship, but try your hardest to not let emotion take over your decision-making.
For example, acting on impulse can seem the right thing to do at the time but later on, could hinder the divorce proceedings. In maintaining a grounded view of the divorce, the process will be easier on both parties and hopefully, this will achieve a quicker result.
- Document Everything
Legal professionals say that a client who documents everything will experience a much more straightforward divorce process. The documentation of assets clearly divides up expensive belongings, meaning that this doesn’t need to be a point of contention later on in the process.
Items such as the following should be documented in the divorce process.
- Furniture and white goods (fridge, washing machine etc)
- Any valuable decorative pieces or works of art
- Electronic products (household products such as TVs, mobile phones, tablets etc)
- Pets and vehicles
It is generally advised that couples keep an inventory list to help keep track of these assets and what belongs to who. Doing this with one another can minimise the chances of any fines relating to the unlawful ownership of assets.
- Know That This Isn’t Forever and That Life Will Go On
The divorce process can be mentally taxing; it can take its toll on both parties. The legal proceedings leave many people stuck in a rut as they adapt to the change in their life.
Whilst it is hard to get through, you must look forward to the future. Recognise that your feelings are valid, whatever they are. You are experiencing huge changes in your life and it is okay to feel low.
Being kind to yourself is essential in these times. Ensure that you are taking proper care of yourself, both emotionally and physically and invest time into finding your feet in your new life. Many people during and after the divorce process take the time to explore their interests and find what makes them happy individually. If you’ve always wanted to take up that one hobby, now is the time to explore it.
Another way to be kind to yourself after enduring the divorce process is to use what you have around you. If you have a good support system in your life, lean on those in it! Society has become less judgemental towards the idea of divorce and has started a new dialogue concerning mental wellbeing. So lean on those around you and those you trust, they will want to support you through this difficult time.
The points that have been discussed are all important things to consider when going through the divorce process. Perhaps the most important thing is ensuring you have support, and guidance in this difficult time. Money can be tight around divorce proceedings, so maybe seeking support or advice through a litigant person assistance service might be the right idea for you. This saves a lot of money in legal fees as opposed to going through a traditional attorney. Many people are opting for this option nowadays. With the rising costs of living, it is hard to find the money to pay expensive legal fees, making services, such as Mckenzie friends, useful to a lot of people going through a divorce.
Peter has been a keen blogger and amateur food critic for over 20 years. When eating and drink Peter loves spending time with his family and friends.