Summer holidays always slow everything down – whether you’re going away or not. Your lawyer and their team are likely to be away at some point. And this means your case will be on hold, or handed to someone who knows nothing about you. If you’ve got momentum going behind your divorce the last thing you want is for holidays to undo all your hard work. But, fear not, here are six ways to protect your divorce process during the summer at the dreaded slowdown.
Know your key dates
It’s not too big a deal if you’re on the back foot so long as your legal team is efficient and keeps you on track. But when they’re off on holiday or overstretched and not responding to emails, it’s extra important you’re organised.
Now is the time to make contact and plan ahead. When are they planning their holiday time? If you know this you can work around it – you can get your research and thinking done while they’re away, so you’re ready for them when they return. And if you need information and advice, you can make sure you get it before they sign off for two weeks.
So get your holiday dates in place as soon as you can, and make a note of theirs too. Ask your legal team what they need from you before you go, so they can make progress while you’re away. And make sure you get what you need from them so you’re not held back yourself.
While you’re on holiday, instruct your legal team to pause any communication from your soon-to-be-ex, and to let your ex know that you won’t be responding until you’re back and have had a chance to digest. You do not want to be dealing with emotive content while you’re supposed to be relaxing. So get those boundaries in place before you set off. If you communicate with your soon-to-be-ex directly it’s both polite and boundary-setting to let them know when you will be unavailable.
Get your paperwork in order
It’s important to have some time off. You don’t want to spend your annual leave, or your child-free time, desperately trying to complete the Form E. So start to get your paperwork in order now. If you know you need to get to grips with your financial disclosure, then break it down. Start identifying all your financial assets and liabilities. You don’t have to do it all at once, but it can feel like a huge task if you leave it to the last minute.
Seek support now if you’re overwhelmed, before the holiday slowdown. I can help you overcome obstacles and get clarity – my Ask The Alchemist service is perfect for this, and likely to be more cost and time effective than a back and forth with your solicitor’s office.
Get arrangements with the children sorted now
It’s so important to get holiday plans in place with the children as early as possible. If you know when they’re with you and when they’re with their other parent you can plan. And starting the conversation early means you’ll be able to spot any curveballs or communication breakdowns early too.
The court prefers it when parents decide between themselves how to manage arrangements for their children. Often, a family mediator can help keep conversations productive, fair and on track. So if you don’t have summer holiday (or Christmas) protocols in place, now’s the time to raise the topic. As well as the practical planning advantages it’s better for your children’s mental health to know where they will be during the holiday periods.
I’m a trained family mediator, coach and NLP (neuro linguistic processing) practitioner. I know just how important effective communication is to managing relationships with your ex-spouse. If you need help coming up with a communication strategy, know that I can help you.
And if you do need to enlist the court to agree childcare arrangements, get your application in now. The courts are busy with covid backlogs and a surge in applications once the no-fault system came into effect in April 2022.
No children? Get caught up
If you don’t have children, you might want to get the ‘silly season’ of July and August to quietly, peacefully make progress with your divorce. One of the advantages of being child-free is that you don’t have to stick to the school seasons, and you can take your break whenever you like.
That doesn’t mean you need to spend summer with your nose to the grindstone though. Take it steady and tackle your divorce in small bites. With plenty of rewards and treats in-between.
Be ready to put it to one side
Whether you have children or not, you don’t want to spend the entire summer slogging away at your divorce. The UK summer weather is unreliable, so you don’t want to miss a rare heatwave by being stuck to your laptop doing financial planning. How can you make sure you can take advantage of the sun, or an invite out to share a bottle of wine with a friend one August Saturday?
Again, organisation is your friend. If you have a place for all your divorce admin – both physical and virtual, you can literally file it away, whether it’s for a guilt-free week in the sun or a day out. Make a note of where you’ve got to, what’s outstanding and the next action you need to take. If you’re relying on information from someone else, get the request in before you have your break. Then, hopefully, the answer will be waiting for you when you return.
It can take just 10 minutes to get your filing in order and make a quick list of where you’re up to in the process. But taking this step will enable two important things: 1. It will help your brain switch off from your divorce, and 2. It will mean you can hit the ground running when you return. So it’s time well spent. Put an out of office on your email so everyone knows they will need to wait for your reply. And take the time to relax.
Get your holiday strategy in place
Whether it’s a communication strategy so you can keep things on an even keel with your soon-to-be-ex, understanding your finances or working out what’s next in the process, I can help. I have a range of one-to-one coaching services to help you navigate your divorce on your terms. Every divorce is unique, and, ultimately, you know what’s best for you, your family and your future. I can help you get there.
Book in a free 30 minute consultation and let’s get started today.
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is the 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 family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. Emma is also the host of The Six Minute Divorce Podcast. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com