The pain isn’t in the paying for divorce
Here’s a difficult truth about divorce, and many other life crises. We’re hit multiple storms at once. And the pain isn’t in the paying for divorce.
There’s the turmoil of accepting and processing that your marriage is over, and the difficult emotions that follow.
There’s the practical turmoil of working out how everyday life will be different – where you live, what job you do, child arrangements.
And then there’s the financial hit of going through divorce. You’re having to pay for something that no-one finds pleasant, or fun.
And often, finances are the fall guy for our pain. Many women rail against the cost of divorce. It doesn’t feel fair. You don’t want to spend that money, or feel like you can afford it.
In truth, the reason why we get so mad about the financial aspect of divorce is that it’s the easiest aspect to hit out at. And the truth is, the pain isn’t in the paying for divorce.
Working on emotions is complicated. Working out what your future life is going to be is complicated. Feeling frustrated that this is going to affect your bank balance is an easy target.
And yes, no-one relishes spending money on divorce. But getting stuck on this prevents you from really getting to the heart of what you need to do – which is invest in the life you want. Emotionally, practically, and, yes, financially.
In The pain isn’t in the paying for divorce, we dig a little deeper.
Being honest about the reality
Some people are genuinely blindsided when their marriage ends, but in my experience, these people are few and far between. Most people recognise that their marriage was in difficulty, even if they didn’t think that it would end.
When you tell the truth about a situation, it has less power over you, even if nothing changes outwardly. And it allows your nervous system to relax more. ‘Pretending’ that everything is ok, whether to yourself or to friends and family costs a lot of energy. It’s harder work than you think trying to hold it altogether.
When you’re honest about the reality you give yourself firm ground to stand on. And your brain can start to seek solutions.
Relationship Counselling is useful whether you want to keep your marriage alive or not. I recommend my clients try relationship counselling so they can be certain it’s time to move forward and also as safe and neutral a venue to share that they are indeed ready for divorce.
Perhaps you have already tried relationship counselling and your ex didn’t really engage (or even attend). Perhaps they used relationship counselling to further blame you.
You might feel it was all a waste of time and money. But in divorce, the pain isn’t in the paying. The pain is in your ex’s behaviour.
Paying the money was actually the ‘easy’ bit because you were invested in the outcome. You wanted to make your marriage work or you wanted to ensure your ex realised it was over.
The cost of staying stuck
Many people in unhappy relationships feel stuck. They don’t know what to do. Worrying about what will happen if they divorce consumes them. They worry about themselves, their children and their finances. They worry about the cost of divorce. Often, they end up staying in their marriage because they think that they ‘can’t afford’ to divorce. Life no longer is about thriving, it’s about coping with a situation you don’t truly want.
Feeling stuck is a real drainer. At the time of writing, we’re in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. I’ve written a lot about Coronavirus and divorce in recent weeks and you can read these blogs to support you – here’s one on surviving your divorce in a pandemic to get you started.
Lots of us feel stuck because we can’t do ‘us’ like we used to. If you love to be out socialising you’ll be feeling stuck in some ways – even if it’s just stuck indoors. You miss your freedom. Nothing is happening but still, you feel lethargic and tired – your energy is low.
Relationships that don’t work create the same feelings. The atmosphere at home is sombre or tense. You lack motivation and your mojo left the building months ago. Just like with lockdown, you miss being you. It’s exhausting.
The true cost of divorce
The true cost of divorce isn’t in the legal fees you pay. In divorce, the pain isn’t in the paying
Don’t misunderstand me – I know finances are a big consideration, of course they are. At every level of society – whether you’re on benefits or a multi-millionaire, your divorce costs must be taken into account. You may have zero budget or know that your legal costs will be several hundred thousand pounds.
However, the true cost of divorce is the emotional impact of the situation.
The pain isn’t in the paying for divorce
Should you stay or should you go? The real pain of divorce isn’t what it costs you financially – it’s what it costs you emotionally. You can stay in an unhappy marriage but at what cost? Is it worth it? Do you want to be having this same conversation with yourself next year? In five years, or ten?
The idea that your divorce may cost you several thousand pounds may feel painful – it may frustrate you at best and enrage you at worst.
But how honest are you about the true source of your pain? The fact that your marriage failed? That you lost a friend? That your children’s lives are disrupted?
It’s very easy to project these deep and complicated painful feelings onto something much more tangible – the money we need to pay to resolve a situation we really wish we weren’t in.
Paying is investing
When you invest in yourself, you use resources to improve yourself or your life in some way. There’s a benefit. When you reframe the idea of paying for your divorce as an investment in you and your future (including that of your children), the energy around it shifts. It’s no longer something to be fearful or be angry about. It’s something you can plan to achieve the outcome you want.
Investing in your divorce gives you a sense of control. You can consider your budget. What will you do for yourself and what will you use a solicitor for? Which solicitor will you use? Will a Legal Executive be sufficient? Do you need to be investing a lawyer at £1000 per hour? There is legal help for every budget and circumstance.
If you are a litigant in person, rather than instructing a solicitor to represent you, do you need to invest? Yes! You need to invest in books (there are several) to explain how to represent yourself. You’ll need a printer and plenty of paper. There are files and highlighters to buy. If you are the petitioner you’ll need your court fee unless you are exempt.
Whatever your personal circumstances, investing in yourself is a positive thing. It’s said that money cannot buy you happiness. I agree. But spending money wisely can do enable you to move forward from a situation that is no longer serving you to a future that you feel in control over – and that is priceless.
Divorce coaching is an investment in yourself and your divorce.
It’ll help you save money on legal fees.
It’ll support you to navigate the process if you’re a litigant in person.
Divorce coaching will support you to honour your values so your new life reflects the life that you want to live.
It’ll support you in facing the emotional and practical storms as well as the financial one.
Just like there are different options for legal support I have a range of packages to support clients – so there’s something for you whatever your budget.
If you want to start off planning and doing divorce the right way for you, you can invest just £14.99 in my Amazon bestseller, ‘How To Be A Lady Who Leaves’.
If you value a supportive community while educating yourself about the divorce process and having regular access to me, you can join The Absolute Academy.
And if you want 1-1 confidential support and advice I have options from 90 minutes to three months. Check out the 1-1 options here.
I’m happy to chat about what’s right for you over a free 30 minute call. Book yours here.
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 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. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com