14 Things you should do now if you're starting a divorce
Jun 28, 2020
In 2014 the Daily Mail surveyed 2000 divorced men and women and a shocking 50% of them said they regretted their decision to divorce. More recent studies confirm that the number is between 32% and 50% and that the people interviewed wished they'd worked harder at their marriage and stayed married.
It goes without saying that I’d always advise you to make sure you’re 100% certain your relationship has broken down irretrievably before you start the process of breaking up.
But if you’ve decided your relationship really isn’t working and can’t be saved, it’s helpful to start planning for some of the steps you’ll need to go through. This can help you to feel more in control of the situation and reduce some of the anxiety and stress you’ll inevitably experience.
Here are 14 tips that can help you to start preparing for your breakup:
- Speak to friends who’ve been through it. It’s impossible to know how you’re really going to feel beforehand so it’s useful to speak to friends who’ve been there. Ask them what’s actually involved, what they struggled with in particular and any advice they wish they’d had beforehand. What would they do differently if they were going through it again?
- Think about how you’ll tell you partner if you haven’t already told them or discussed it. Plan a time when you know you’ll be alone with no other distractions. Be kind and think about how they might react, especially if it’s likely to be a shock to them. Be honest and respectful of their feelings. Plan what you want to say and what your reasons are beforehand, so you can say it as calmly as possible.
- Think about what the future living arrangements need to be. Do you need to move out straight away or do you have a spare room for the interim? Think about whether it’ll be possible to keep sharing the same house in the short term.
- Discuss with your partner how you’ll tell the kids. You should do this together and make sure they know that it’s not their fault and you both still love them. Explain to them what will happen next. Allow plenty of time to answer their questions and to comfort them.
- Think about the relationship you want with your ex going forward. Start as you mean to go on. How you behave in these early stages is likely to set the scene for the future. If you want to try and keep things amicable, then bear this in mind in how you interact and speak to them. If kids are involved, think about how the arrangements could work.
- Start finding all your financial information. If you’re getting divorced, you’ll need records of your income, debt, assets, pensions and mortgage etc for the financial settlement. You’ll also need to estimate what you think your future income requirements will be so start preparing a budget. Start a folder to keep all the important documents in.
7. Get your property valued. Use several different estate agents to get different opinions.
- Meet with 3 solicitors if you think you may need to involve them. The type of solicitor you choose will set the tone of your divorce, so bear this in mind. If you’re hoping to separate amicably then don’t choose one with a reputation for being adversarial. Think about whether mediation could work for you. Ask what rates the solicitor charges and a likely budget given your circumstances.
- Meet with a financial adviser. It helps you to feel in control of the situation if you understand what your current and future financial situation is likely to be.
- Draft a will if you don’t already have one. A will is even more important if there are kids involved. You’ll definitely need a will or to change your exiting one once any divorce or breakup is finalised.
- Find your marriage certificate. You’ll need to submit this as part of the divorce process.
- Spend time with people who are fun to be around. It’s believed you’re influenced by the 5 people you spend most of your time with, so choose carefully. You won’t want to be around mood hoovers. Instead choose friend and family who make you laugh and lift your spirits.
- Let yourself experience your emotions. Don’t stuff down your emotions or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. You’ll experience a whole range of emotions, so be prepared to sit with those rather than avoiding them by working long hours or partying hard. It’s all part of the grieving process and completely normal.
- Focus on your future instead of dwelling on the past. This can be easier said than done. Start thinking about what you want your future to look like and start getting excited about it. Make a list of everything you want and set yourself some goals. Start taking small steps to get there and it will help to keep you focused.
Divorce or the breakup of a long-term relationship is the second most stressful life event that we can experience. Following some of the tips above, should help you to remove any additional stress and to take as much control of the process as possible.
If you’re currently going through a divorce or breakup and need some support with the emotional and practical challenges, then please get in touch to see how I can help you.