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Going through life-changing events, such as divorce or separation, can be extremely difficult to deal with. Often moving through different stages together with ups and downs. Even an amicable separation can spark difficult emotions for those going through the divorce process and starting a new life.

   

A great support network can really help people to recover from divorce. It can give them peers to talk to, take their mind off negativity and help them to continue in hard times.

   

This article from our Family Law Team at Lamb Brooks shares 10 tips on how to support a friend, family member or colleague through a divorce.

   

Supporting a Friend During Lockdown

 

Under the current government guidance supporting a friend going through a divorce can be quite limiting. You probably long to give them a hug, spend an evening indoors together or go for a few drinks to cheer them up.

   

Given the restrictions it may be useful to remind yourself of ways to show your support from a distance. Keep in touch over the phone, messages and social media. You could also organise meet ups virtually via platforms such as Zoom, Teams, Skype or FaceParty. You could surprise them with a delivery of flowers, a gift or cards/postcards through the door.

   

It is worth noting that it is possible to meet up with one other person outdoors under the current guidelines (02/03/20). You could go for a walk or exercise together outside whilst practising social distancing. Ensure that you do this close to home, rather than driving miles. It might also be nice to plan ahead so that you both have something to look forward to once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

   

10 Tips For Supporting a Divorcing Friend

 
  • Check in on them regularly. Keeping in touch is important and will help you to spot any signs that they are struggling. Make sure you call them, see them in person and message them during each week. Sometimes people may not feel comfortable to speak in person but might open up over text messages.
 
  • Listen to them. When discussing their marriage or divorce, listen carefully and offer advice or opinions when you can. Let them do most of the talking and show that you care.
 
  • Don’t badmouth their spouse. Whilst it can be tempting and it might feel helpful to show that you are on their side, it can be tricky when their feelings change, or they reconcile. If you have verbally bashed their ex-partner, then they may not open up to you if they start to miss them or find the separation difficult.
 
  • Involve them. It is important not to assume your friend will no longer want to attend a certain get-together or event, still ensure that you invite them to things, even if they would normally attend as a couple, rather than leaving them feeling isolated.
 
  • Help with practical aspects. You can offer support practically by helping with packing or moving to a new house, helping them with DIY, finances, shopping, childcare and household chores. Gestures like this can help ease the load when they have a lot on their plate.
   

Keep scrolling for 5 more top tips from our expert divorce lawyers…

 

Comforting a friend who is going through a divorce

  • Remember important milestones. When a divorce is still ongoing or still fresh, key dates such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays and valentine’s day can feel painful, especially for the first year after separating. Ensure you check in on them on these days and recognise that they may be struggling.
 
  • Help with paperwork. Seeing facts about your divorce written down on paper can be particularly painful. Especially if your friend was not the one to initiate the separation. If you can, help them out with some of the paperwork. It can be stressful to deal with.
 
  • Don’t make judgements. Everyone deals with their feelings in different ways. As a good friend it is important to show your support without judging their behaviour and by being accepting of their decisions.
 
  • Look out for their mental health. There are some signs to look out for that a friend is struggling with their mental health. Keeping in regular contact will help you spot anything concerning. Warnings may be lack of response, sudden changes to their weight, sleep patterns, drinking habits or their personality.
 
  • Be there for the long-term. Friends going through a divorce need some stability. Don’t leave them in the lurch once the dust has settled or they start to ‘seem’ fine. Be there for the long-term and continue to support them.
 

Finally, don’t forget to reassure them that whilst life may currently feel bleak, things will improve. A positive influence can help boost their mood and keep them going when they feel down.

   

Legal Advice For a Friend

 

If you are looking for some advice on behalf of a friend, we would be happy to give you all the information they would need to start the ball rolling with an initial appointment. This first appointment is charged on a fixed fee basis, giving them up to an hour and a half of time with an experienced divorce solicitor followed by a detailed letter of advice. We can offer this as a video or telephone call from the comfort of their home.

   

Our website is full of useful, topical articles which may be a good starting point if they are not quite ready to meet with a solicitor but want to learn more about the process and options available.

   

Call us on 01256 844888, email enquiries@lambbrooks.com or speak to our online chat assistant who will put you in touch with our expert Family Law Team.

   

Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

7 Ways to Thrive After Divorce

Coping With Separation During Lockdown

Divorcing When The Time is Right

   

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.