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Things I wish I knew before I… got a divorce

In my line of work, I tend to see the statistic of one in three marriages ending in divorce in real life. Whilst many will say signing a pre-nup is one of many things they wish they knew before they get married quite often, separated parties will ask me things they need to know before they get divorced.

1) Do you want to get divorced

Sounds like a menial question. You might think “yes” otherwise why would you be sat in my office. However, emotions can run extremely high during a divorce, and indeed a marriage in general. It is never advisable to make a big decision when feeling emotional and it is difficult to go back and undo a divorce if you change your mind. So before you  “click on the send button” , you could try marriage counselling, or, indeed, try a mediator. You might just find talking through your problems is more beneficial and much less permanent, and expensive, than a divorce.

2) Don’t believe everything you hear

The most important rule in the divorce process is not believing everything other people tell you about their divorce. Each case is different – and just because your friend’s divorce didn’t end well or they were given bad advice, this is not always true. Friends may even tell you, with the best of intentions, that their situation is pretty typical, but your experience is more than likely to differ from theirs. You should only rely on advice given to you by the professionals.

3) See the bigger picture

By the time separating couples reach my office, they are usually bickering, emotional, constantly at war with each other – and it is important to focus on your goals and outcomes form the divorce. Seeing the bigger picture, for example, thinking about your living arrangements, custody of children and the separation of any financial assets such as savings, houses or other valuable property, will help you to focus on the future. A willingness to work with your spouse can also mean for a smoother divorce process and can help achieve the best outcome for you and your family.

4 Develop a support network

This is perhaps the most important. You are about to go through a significant life change. Make sure you have people around you that are reliable even if it’s just emotional support you need. These can be friends or family, particularly if you need someone to keep an eye on the children whilst you deal with lawyers or meet with your spouse to talk through the separation. You might also choose to speak to a therapist or mediator, who can often be a valuable third party and is neutral in situations like these. This is an often-overlooked aspect of divorce and often undervalued.

If you would like some advice relating to custody of children, separation agreements or any other aspect of divorce or dissolution of civil partnerships contact the Family team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Posted on 05/09/2019 by Richard Middlehurst

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