Who do you need in your divorce support team?
Divorce is a testing time. Along with the emotional upheaval of making the decision to leave, you’re often faced with practical changes around living space and finances, as well as all the legal and administrative processes to get to grips with.
It’s important you don’t do this alone. It’s important to realise that if you feel overwhelmed and unsure, that’s totally normal, and to be expected. Often, as women, we resist asking for help and prefer soldiering on, showing ourselves and the world we’re fine.
But there’s no getting away from the fact that divorce is a big deal – one of the biggest, on every level. No-one’s expecting you to have all the answers by yourself, or for it to feel fine all of the time.
But what you can do is reach out to the people who can help you. In this blogpost I invite you to think about who you can turn to as you do your divorce your way – and share some of the pros and cons of each.
Friends and family as your support team
The great thing about your closest inner circle is they have your best interests at heart. They love you, want the best for you and are likely to back you all the way: yes, your soon to be ex is an idiot, yes, you deserve exactly the happiness you want, yes of course you should keep the house and the cat.
This sort of support can be a great boost, and a wonderful reminder of the amazing people you have in your life. But it can also create a bubble – and sometimes the answers you need aren’t necessarily the ones you want to hear. Sometimes the legal position isn’t what you’d like it to be. And that’s why you need to go outside the wine and hugs of your friends to get the best guidance as you navigate divorce.
Divorce veterans as your support team
Who better to speak to than someone who’s been there, done that and bought the t-shirt?
While it’s true that divorcees can share their experiences, they also bring with them their personal circumstances, their baggage and their grievances. The legal jurisdiction in England and Wales applies to everyone – but the specific experience of divorce will be as unique as you are. So be wary of accepting the advice of divorcees wholesale – just because something did or din’t work for them is not indication it will be the same for you.
Mediation allows you to bring unresolved issues to light, and can help you communicate clearly and respectfully with your spouse. Discussions are confidential and not legally binding, so it’s a good place to test ideas and try to agree on a way forward. If you and your spouse are able to reach agreement, mediation can be an effective way to reduce conflict and legal costs.
However, mediation doesn’t work for everyone – and it works best when both parties are fully signed up to the process. If you find you are getting nowhere, you may need to instigate divorce proceedings.
If you are finding life emotionally, mentally and physically tough while getting ready to divorce, you won’t be alone. There is no shame in feeling depressed or anxious. Seek help from your GP if you need it, and get the therapeutic support you need.
If you are in an abusive relationship it’s especially important you gather support around you. Women’s Aid is a good place to find specialist information and resources.
As I’ve discussed in a previous blog, your solicitor is there to work with you through the legal process, and that’s it. There are hundreds of questions you may have that won’t need a solicitor’s answer. In some cases you won’t need a solicitor at all. So rather than use your solicitor as the first and only port of call for legal information, see how you can take control before you even make contact (and I can definitely help you with this!).
A divorce coach is there to support you throughout the whole process of your divorce – explaining what your options are and support you emotionally as you make informed decisions based on current law.
A coach works with women who know they want to divorce on their terms – but they’re not quite sure how to. A coach reminds you that you’re a smart, capable woman and you can take control of the divorce process. And in my online community, Club D36, I help you do exactly that.
In Club D36 we get deep into the issues you face in YOUR divorce, now. You get weekly support in working through your divorce, your way – whether that’s deciding what you’d like your post-divorce life to look and feel like, to understanding the financial picture, to knowing the legal process and how it affects you.
It’s a good thing to have friends and family around you, they are an important part of your divorce support team. But when you really want to get things moving, you need someone who is there for you impartially, who will be totally honest and who knows the law inside out.
And I can be that person for you.
I’d love to see you inside Club D36 so you can get on with your divorce and the rest of your life, your way. Come and join us!
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 has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com