It is true that no two divorces are the same, but it is also true that there are some features and traits that run through the veins of most divorce processes.
If you find yourself thinking or stating, “I want a divorce,” or if you are contemplating divorce, here are some things that you need to keep in mind.
Firstly and in no particular order, it is very, very likely going to get rough.
I know of couples who start off their divorce process saying that they will not get into “it” but truth be told, you will at some point or other about one thing or another.
A divorcing friend once said to me, “Our divorce will not get as nasty as yours did,” but it did happen when it came to creating the parenting plan – a very common bone of contention in divorce.
Please, please, please keep in mind that this is quite normal in divorce. It is a fight and it may indeed become a full blown war. When this happens, don’t be surprised. It is part of the divorce process, as callous and dismissive as that sounds. But if you prepare yourself to see the worst side of your soon to be ex, then you will be better able to cope.
So get a good support system around you. Someone or people who can be and remain objective as opposed to those who will only serve in fanning the flames of your anger, resentment and outrage. Someone who is comfortable enough to say to you, “Dont’ be silly, that’s a riduclous thing to say or do.”
Secondly, prepare to meet your worst side.
You will be astonished that you’re capable of the most awful thoughts, words and wishes than you ever thought yourself capable off.
You will utter the most awful things and you will have lethal and toxic emotions of the worst kind. Deal with them.
Accept that they are there but don’t let them govern, control or regulate your actions. Saying, “she made me do it,” will not cut it with the judge neither will “he asked for it!” The sooner you take responsibility for your own actions the better and the less frequently you will act upon them.
Just don’t make decisions when you are full of anger. Leave it, sleep on it and keep in mind what Benjamin Franklin said, “Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame.” Amen to that!
Thirdly, when the war erupts, don’t take it personally. Yes, I know, easier said than done, but I promise you, I
practised this during my second divorce and it helped PLENTY! I still use it in my daily life and it turns out that it’s a very useful coping skill to have.
During the divorce process, you will fight and truth be told, you would behave in exactly the same way as your ex is if you were made of the same genes and had the same perspective and life experiences. He isn’t fighting you, he is fighting the situation.
She isn’t being hostile towards you per se, it is the situation, the divorce process, that is making her do so. In reality, she would behave the same way if you were Tom, Dick or Harry. It just happens to be you in the firing line or in the ring with her. And he would hate you just as much as he is now if you were Mary, Jane or Lucy – by the way is there the feminie equivalent of Tom, Dick and Harry? I googled it but couldn’t find anything?
Fourthly, there are other ways of getting a divorce. The divorce process doesn’t have to involve divorce solicitors although, you may still need them at some point, especially if your are lucky enough to have a fairly amicable divorce. Thankfully today, there are other ways round it. Think family mediation, collaborative law, McKenzie Friends or DIY through the courts. Find what suits you.
Fifth, as mentioned in previous point, get legal advice. Many solicitors offer a 30 min free consultation. Prepare, prepare, prepare your questions in advance so you can cover as much as possible AND do take a friend with you because they will be better placed in retaining whatever information you get than you would be in this emotional time of your life . So two things, prepare whatever you need to know and take someone with you.
Sixth, remember to deal with your financial order. We have seen in recent times, Vince vs Wyatt, how not dealing with the your financial order and getting a clean break can come back to haunt you. Make sure you get it all done. All of it or as much of it as possible so nothing is left pending.
Seventh, the children have got nothing to do with your split yet everything to do with it. Please, please, please, keep your children out of it.
Look after them and don’t involve them in adult matters. They don’t need to know because they are unable to handle it. They don’t have the maturity to manage the situation. Instead contain their fears and anxieties.
Answer their questions as best as you can by using age appropriate vocabulary. Read up on the effects of divorce on children, why children need fathers or both parents and keep them in mind at all times as you create your age appropriate parenting plan.
If you are able to keep your children in mind, things fall into place because you have a focus, a focal point that is made up of the hearts, minds and wellbeing of the most important people in your life as you both are to them.
Divorce can get crazy and it usually does. Your soon to be ex becomes your enemy, the last person that you want to see or the last voice you want to hear. The mention of their name sends anger spasms through your body, mind and spirit.
For some, not all, but I dare say most, the divorce process does happen like this but it doesn’t have to stay this way. You alone can control your side of things, your way of handling situations and how well your children cope with the divorce process.
Here are 3 Friedrich Nietzsche quotes that I hope will help in any way possible:
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
It may not look like it now but there is life after divorce.
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the five star-rated online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org