How to deal with divorce
The wedding and early days of the marriage tend to be idyllic and early cracks are often masked by the day-to-day business of running a home and starting a family. But the fact is that 42% of marriages end in divorce sooner or later: so if you are currently facing or considering divorce, you are certainly not alone!
Once you start telling people that you and your spouse are separating and heading for divorce you will get lots-and-lots of advice. Well-meaning friends and family will all have their own ideas and experiences of divorce and what it means and all of them will tell you what they think. Some will be more supportive than others. Sometimes all you need is some impartial, practical advice on how to cope with all the practical and emotional fall-out of divorce.
The first thing you should do is book a free half hour appointment with a local solicitor who has a good reputation for dealing with family law (ask those well-meaning friends and family for recommendations). Most firms offer this service. They can give you a basic idea of what you're likely to end up with after your divorce.
Take with you a list of your income and outgoings and a rough idea of what you have by way of capital - things like your house, car and any savings. If you know, also take a note of what your spouse has. The solicitor will also ask about any children and what you and your spouse do for work.
On this rough information they should be able to give you an idea of what will happen to the house at least (will it have to be sold, or can one of you stay living there?) and what income you will have.
Knowledge is power and once you have had this basic preliminary chat you will be able to prepare yourself emotionally for what is to come.
Just so you know, most divorce cases don't end up in court: they're all dealt with on paper. Most divorcing couples are also able to agree finances and arrangements for the children with the help of a mediation service ... even those who had previously thought that things were so bad between them that they could never agree on anything.
A divorce is like a bereavement. Let yourself grieve. If the marriage is dead, a divorce is the funeral and once it's over you will feel a lot better.
As hard as it will seem at times, if you have young children together try to stay positive about their relationship with your ex, to keep stress (yours and theirs) to a minimum. Speak to their school so that they can help to support you and the children too. If you have grown up children, talk to them - they don't need to know all the gory details, but this might be the first time they've seen you as people rather than parents and it will take some adjusting.
Try to see the divorce as a new beginning rather than an ending. Surround yourself by people who love you and take care of yourself.
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