10th March 2020
Whilst going through a separation many people will label this period of your life as a ‘sad time’ or a ‘stressful time’; however in our experience as divorce lawyers we see clients go through a journey that has peeks and troughs, similar to riding a roller-coaster.
Much like the metaphoric roller-coaster, a divorce has process to follow and not everyone’s experiences are the same, but it does come to an end where everyone gets off safely.
Whilst in the queue for any thrill ride there is a sense of mixed emotions, some people are excited, some are nervous, some have been on this ride before and others are being dragged onto the roller-coaster when they would rather be on a gentle carousel.
We see a range of clients from all different backgrounds at Lamb Brooks, whose circumstances are all different. The one thing they tend to have in common is a sense of nervous energy. Whether this is a nervous excitement to get the process going, or whether they are still having doubts about taking that leap of faith to end their marriage.
The first appointment that you have with your divorce lawyer is much like being in the queue for the roller-coaster. All the information is available and explained to you so that you can make an informed decision about whether you want to embark. Much like the signposts you will see along the winding queue for the ride, all the restrictions, rules and regulations are made clear to put you at ease and allow you to make an informed decision.
Whether you are the one instigating the separation or whether you are reacting to your partner asking for a divorce, this is the time to arm yourself with as much information as possible and get some bespoke advice on what your best next steps are for your situation.
Once you have strapped yourself in and are ready for the divorce proceedings to start you are likely to feel a range of emotions and experience highs and lows throughout the ride.
Unlike a roller-coaster though, you can stop or change your mind. This is unusual but some clients do reconcile even after proceedings are underway and others decide that this isn’t the right time for them to separate formally and put their divorce on hold.
At this point you have had your initial meeting, got to know the lawyer representing you and you have completed the relevant paperwork to get the cogs in motion.
As mentioned earlier, everyone’s divorce is personal to them and not everyone reacts in the same way. There is no magic formula on how to behave or what to feel. It is your own personal journey to navigate your way through with the support of your divorce lawyer, friends and family.
These are some of the emotions that you are likely to feel along the way:
Shock: Particularly if you are not the person seeking a separation, receiving divorce papers or having a conversation with your partner about divorce can come as a surprise. It might not even seem real to start with and sometimes we see clients who are ‘going through the motions’ who have not quite grasped that this is happening to them. You may feel panicked or numb, but it is important to realise that these emotions are temporary and are a normal reaction to such a big change in your life.
Stress: Feeling stressed is a completely normal and accepted emotion when going though any major life changes. There is plenty to worry about during divorce – whether it is finances, how your children will manage or what the future holds for you. It is vital not to let stress get the better of you. Accept that it will pass, use your support networks, use coping mechanisms and reach out for further help if needed.
Sadness: Many people feel a sense of grief when going through a divorce. Regardless of how the relationship broke down, you are losing someone that you are likely to have spent a lot of time with and built a life together with. It is not unusual to feel sad at the loss of your marriage, even if you both know that it is for the best in the long run.
Anger: As the divorce progresses you may find yourself in disagreement about how the separation looks on paper. Many couples struggle to agree on how assets, finances and children are shared, and it is understandable to feel anger and resentment either towards your ex-partner or towards the stressful situation that you are in. Try to use anger management coping techniques and always try to let anger pass before engaging in communication with your ex-spouse.
Scared: If you are coming out of a long-term marriage or are reliant on your spouse, either financially or emotionally, it can be scary to picture your new life and think about how you will cope. Surround yourself with support and trust that everything will work out in the end. Appoint yourself a great solicitor who specialises in finances and divorce to ensure that you come out of your relationship with stability.
Guilt: We see clients who go through stages of guilt and second doubt themselves about going through with the separation. Divorce is a major life change, and something that should be carefully considered. Some people feel guilty putting their children or family through a divorce, but you need to remind yourself that your happiness is important too. You can’t pour from an empty cup – taking care of your own happiness will enable you to provide a happy life for your children. You are likely to feel more guilt for putting your family through years of an unhappy household than you are the temporary upheaval of a divorce.
Hope: Intertwined with the stages of sadness and stress, we often see clients experience patches of hope, happiness and excitement that helps them to keep going. Accepting the fact that your marriage is ending and being able to move on and think about your new life can help you continue through the process. It is easy to get caught up in the sorrow of a marriage ending without thinking about the benefits of coming away from a bad relationship and finding new happiness.
Relief: When the end of the tracks are in sight and you know that the ride will soon be over, divorcing couples can breathe a sigh of relief and get their feet back on the ground. Divorce is often a complicated, stressful and emotional ordeal but reaching agreement and coming away with a resolution can be a fantastic feeling.
Your divorce lawyer is here to help you through the legal process, but also recognises the importance of getting emotional support too. Lamb Brooks have good relationships with counsellors, support groups, therapists and other professionals that you may need advice from such as accountants, mortgage brokers and financial advisors.
Getting additional support is not admitting to a mental health issue of any kind, but it can be a way of realising your emotions and talking through your separation in a way that you might not be able to with a friend of family member.
When you step off a roller-coaster it takes some time to feel stable again. Some people feel euphoric whereas others feel physically sick. If the ride has been particularly turbulent and your life has been turned upside-down, it can take some time for you to feel back to your usual self.
After a divorce is finalised clients will go through a period of adjustment to their new life. Often this will involve moving into a new home too and a fresh start. Re-calibrating and re-identifying yourself after a divorce can an emotional journey too, but without the added pressure of the legalities and formal processes to go through.
If you are considering a divorce and want to get some information or if you are ready to start the divorce process, then please get in touch with our Family Law Team to make an initial appointment.
Call our Julia McGuigan in our specialist family law department on 01256 305596 to skip the switchboard and directly speak to someone who can help.
Alternatively you can email email@example.com, speak to our online assistant or visit our offices in Basingstoke’s town centre.
We hope to be able to support you throughout your roller-coaster journey and see you come out the other end of a difficult period.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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