Creating a Divorce Plan – Part 2

 Last time on the blog we talked about divorce plans: what they are, why you need them and how to create one. Check back to Creating a Divorce Plan – Part 1, if you missed it.   This time we will look at the curveballs. As with all things in life, sometimes people and circumstances get in the way of our dreams and plans. This doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Here’s what you might need to consider and how to tackle any problems as they arise.  

Your soon-to-be-ex-husband’s plan

It’s reasonable to assume your ex will have made a plan, or at least have clear ideas of what they want out of divorce. This may initially be a plan about finances and the children rather than life goals, but it is still a plan. Think about what their plan might be, and why. It’s useful to do this in advance so you can anticipate any clashes.   Divorce is a time of high emotion – it’s unsurprising if you feel anger, frustration or a sense of injustice where your ex is concerned. But the best planning, and the most successful communication comes when the heat is turned down. Look at the facts, gather your evidence and try to keep your cool. Mediation is often helpful with this. A skilful mediator can work with you together and individually to help you agree on future arrangements.  

Be flexible

It’s good to have a solid plan, but it’s wise to respond to circumstances as they change. Review your plan regularly as your divorce proceeds – it might be that your plans were based on assumptions that aren’t true, or that your situation has changed. Different doesn’t have to mean worse.   If you review your plan before you reach crisis point you are more likely to make wise decisions about your future rather than have emotional reactions to a difficult situation.  

When you’re thrown a curveball

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Don’t panic! Seek help. That’s exactly what I’m here for. I can help you navigate the legal decision-making alongside the emotional storm that curveballs often create. You could also ask your solicitor (though beware the fees – they usually charge in 6 minute time blocks!), or know people who have been through similar.   A word of warning when speaking with friends and family though – while they are likely to have your best interests at heart, they may not always have current and accurate information, and are likely to let their strong concern for you colour their views! It’s always worth checking any advice and information.  

I’m in a High Conflict Divorce – what should I do?

Firstly, the good news. If you know you’re in a high conflict divorce (which means you are divorcing a narcissist or other high conflict personality type) you’ve already got an advantage over the many women who don’t recognise their situation. Awareness is absolutely key to minimising conflict.   For you, plans are more important than ever. It’s important to plan your own strategy and then weave in how your ex might respond. All of the high conflict traits that you will have experienced in marriage will be at play in the divorce process too. Your resilience will be tested, so it’s important to have a strong team around you.  

Choose your legal representation carefully – ask them what experience they have of working with high conflict divorce, and go with someone you trust. A good accountant is likely to be useful, and a coach to help you through the emotional and practical rollercoaster. I am the UK’s only divorce coach trained in high conflict and am here to help you navigate the process.   If you want help creating or adjusting your plan at any point in the divorce process – from making the decision, to tackling financial disclosure, to reaching decree absolute, just contact me to book in a free initial consultation.  

The Divorce Alchemist

Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a practising family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self study and group programmes. Emma is featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com