Recently I was shocked by some statistics I found whilst doing some research.
Divorce Coach Sarah Woodward writes for The Group Hug about the things you should do if you’re starting a divorce.
The Daily Mail surveyed 2000 divorced men and women in 2014, and a shocking 50% of them said they regretted their decision to divorce. More recent studies have confirmed the number is between 32% and 50% and that the people interviewed wished they’d worked harder at their marriage and stayed married.
I always advise my clients to make sure they’re 100% certain their relationship has broken down irretrievably before they start the process of breaking up.
But if you’ve decided your relationship really isn’t working and can’t be saved, it’s helpful to start planning for some of the steps you’ll need to go through. This can help you to feel more in control of the situation and reduce some of the anxiety and stress you’ll inevitably experience.
Here are 13 tips that can help you to start preparing for your breakup:
1. Ask friends who’ve been through it.
It’s impossible to know how you’re really going to react beforehand so it’s useful to speak to friends who’ve been there. Ask them what’s actually involved, what they struggled with in particular and any advice they wish they’d had beforehand. What would they do differently if they were going through it again?
2. Plan how you’ll tell you partner
if you haven’t already told them or discussed it. Pick a time when you know you’ll be alone with no other distractions. Be kind and think about how they might react, especially if it’s likely to be a shock to them. They may have some catching up to do. Be honest and respectful of their feelings. Plan what you want to say and what your reasons are beforehand, so you can say it as calmly as possible.
3. Consider what the future living arrangements need to be.
Think about whether it’ll be possible to stay living together in the short term. You might need to move out so be prepared for that. Otherwise if you have a spare room that’s another option. If kids are involved, think about how the arrangements could work.
4. Discuss with your partner how you’ll tell the kids.
This really should be done together. Make sure they know that it’s not their fault and you both still love them. Explain to them what will happen next. Allow plenty of time to answer their questions and to comfort them.
5. Think about the relationship you want with your ex going forward.
Start as you mean to go on. How you behave in these early stages is likely to set the scene for the future. If you want to try and keep things amicable, then bear this in mind in how you interact and speak to them.
6. Start finding all your financial information.
If you’re getting divorced, you’ll need records of your income, debt, assets, pensions and mortgage etc for the financial settlement. Start a folder to keep all the important documents in. You’ll also need to estimate what you think your future income requirements will be so start preparing a budget. Get your property valued.
7. Meet with 3 solicitors if you think you may need to involve them.
The type of solicitor you choose will set the tone of your divorce, so bear this in mind. If you’re hoping to separate amicably then don’t choose one with a reputation for being adversarial. Think about whether mediation could work for you. Ask what rates the solicitor charges and a likely budget given your circumstances.
8. Use a financial adviser.
It helps you to feel in control of the situation if you understand what your current and future financial situation is likely to be. At least then you can put a plan in place for your future.
9. Prepare a will if you don’t already have one.
A will is even more important if there are kids involved. You’ll definitely need a will or to change your exiting one once any divorce or breakup is finalised.
10. Find your marriage certificate.
You’ll need to submit this as part of the divorce process.
11. Spend time with positive, fun people.
It’s believed you’re influenced by the 5 people you spend most of your time with, so choose carefully. You won’t want to be around negative people who drain your energy. Instead choose friends and family who make you laugh and lift your spirits.
12. Accept all your emotions.
You’ll experience a whole roller coaster of emotions during this process. Don’t stuff them down or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Be prepared to sit with your emotions rather than avoiding them by working long hours or partying hard. It’s all part of the grieving process and completely normal.
13. Focus on your future instead of dwelling on the past.
This can be easier said than done. Start thinking about what you want your future to look like and start getting excited about it. Make a list of everything you want and set yourself some goals. Start taking small steps to get there and it will help to keep you focused.
Divorce or the breakup of a long-term relationship is the second most stressful life event that we can experience. It takes time to come to terms with it and to be able to move on with your life. Take each day at a time and be kind to yourself. Get as much support as you can.
Following some of the tips above, will help to remove any additional stress and to take as much control of the process as possible.