How to Get Over Divorce
Create your two-year plan
Let’s start with the end in mind. Rather than focus on the here and now of your divorce, take a moment away from everything to think about what you would like your life to look like in two years. Where would you like to be living? What would you like to be doing for work? How do you see the children getting on in two years? What sort of relationship would you like to have with your ex-partner?
List down the 5 key foundations in your life and write down what you would like them to look like:
- If you want to work, what do you want to do? Do you want to run your own business or retrain to a different career?
- What do you want your relationship with you ex-spouse to look like? Do you want a business-like relationship that focuses purely on the children?
- What do you want your children to be doing and how do you want them to feel about both their parents?
- Where do you want to be living? What sort of property? How many bedrooms does it have?
- What relationship would you like with your wider family? For example grandparents from both sides?
- What friends do you want in your life and what things will you do together?
The above 6 areas make up the pillars that will support your life in the future. Look at each pillar and write down exactly what you would like it to look like in two years
Why write it down? Because without you even consciously thinking about it, your brain will start to work out how to make them happen. It’s just what a brain does. Focus on them, vision clearly what they will look like and then start taking steps towards attaining them.
Why two years? It’s how long most people say it took to get them over this part of their life and feel ready and fully focused to move on. Having a two-year plan will also help with the inevitable downsides and frustrations of your divorce. Just keep the plan in the front of your mind and keep moving towards it. You’ll be fine.
Acknowledge your role in the divorce
Unless it was an arranged marriage or forced upon you, you probably made a decision to marry the person you are now getting divorced from. That was a free choice you made. Whether you are the one instigating the divorce or you really don’t want it to happen, it takes two to make a marriage work and with the implementation of the no-fault divorce law, there is very little you can do now to stop the divorce from happening.
So whatever the reason for the divorce, acknowledge the role you played in the marriage ending. Its liberating. Did you get too comfortable in the relationship? Did you stop communicating as well as you used to? Did you grow apart? Understanding your role in arriving at this situation and then owning that, is a great step in helping you move on. Putting all the blame on the other party, feeling bitter and resentful and not learning any lessons other than perhaps, ‘I’m never getting married again!’ will not serve you in your future. Acceptance, taking fair responsibility and moving on will help you in your future.
As with everything in life, there are exceptions – and if the reason you are getting divorced is due to domestic abuse, then it is important to understand that there is never an excuse for abuse. You need to make sure you focus on your own safety and make sure you find someone who would never even consider harming you.
Be a little selfish
You are probably worrying about your children, your friends, your family and everyone else at this time. Trying to keep everything together whilst going through an emotional.trauma can be almost impossible.
Allow yourself to be a little selfish. Having a bad day? That’s ok. You can stay in and watch Netflix all day if you wish. The world won’t explode! Need a break with some friends? Go for it. It may be just what you need to re-energise and focus on moving on. Want to buy yourself that fancy watch, new item of clothing or go on that course? Allow yourself to invest in you and treat yourself. We are not endorsing blowing the household budget on new stuff – it won’t cheer you up in the long term – but small treats to reward yourself for a good, positive day can help you. No one expects you to be 100% on it when going through a divorce. So don’t expect it of yourself
Prioritise the children
Virtually every parent going through a divorce or separation says they want to prioritise the children. They just don’t often agree on what those priorities are. It is common for roles to become more entwined in a divorce. A home-maker, may have to take on some more work to make ends meet and the bread-winner may need to spend more time with the children than they would have done previously when working. That is perfectly normal and done well, is a positive thing.
Don’t just plan spending time with your children, plan spending time doing something with them. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Numerous studies show that it is not the act of divorcing that can cause emotional damage to a child, it is the way in which you divorce. If one outcome of the divorce is that the children get to spend more quality and enjoyable time with one of the parents than before, that is a good thing.
Drawing up a parenting plan, can help you both agree how you want to work together to raise your children. The law says, that unless there is risk of serious harm, a child needs to have a good and loving relationship with both sets of parents. It is then up to you both to work together to see what that looks like moving forwards.
Your children still have the same mum and dad even if you are no longer married.
Our blog 10 mistakes parents make during a divorce or separation goes into more detail here.
Understand its normal to disagree
Not agreeing on every facet of your divorce or separation is perfectly normal and understandable. Many couples who are happily married disagree of finances and parenting matters. So it’s no surprise that couples struggle when they are finding it even harder to communicate.
Family law is there to help you both meet your future needs and the needs of any children. In most cases it is less concerned with who played what roles in the marriage, or paid for what, or the reasons behind the marriage ending. Our Ultimate Guide to a Financial Settlement goes into more detail on this.
But focusing on your future needs can help with any disagreements. What size property do you need? How much does that cost. Searching on Rightmove and finding out your mortgage capacity from a mortgage expert can all help with deciding how to divide up the assets.
If you are struggling to agree, then at least try to agree on which method (or methods) you will use to help you reach an agreement. There are eleven established methods for dispute resolution on a divorce or separation. Family mediation is just one of these methods.
Focus on moving on, not looking back
You cannot change the past and you cannot change someone else. You can only make real changes to yourself. The decisions and steps you take now should all be aligned to your future needs. It’s what family law is set up for.
So don’t waste time or money trying to go back over the past, gathering evidence of who paid for what, or who did what. In a long marriage and in 95% of cases it won’t make a difference to any outcome, if you went to court. Focus on your genuine financial need and what you want the child arrangements to look like. It will serve you a lot better in reaching an amicable divorce agreement and save you a lot of time, stress and money too.
Don’t use the law to try to punish the other party
Family law is not set up to punish or reward for behaviour during the marriage (except in a few highly extreme cases). The only time that behaviour is looked at, is in your conduct in trying to resolve matters. If the court believe you have been trying to frustrate the process, been unreasonable in your demands, declined to mediate without good reason or been dishonest, then they can punish such behaviour with allocation of legal costs or even division of assets. See our blog here for more information on this.
So if the law is not set up to punish behaviour during the relationship, then you shouldn’t try to make it do so either. You are likely to end up with costly legal fees and perhaps a legal order you disagree with but are now stuck with. You have 11 methods to reach an agreement on divorce or separation. Number 1 starts with chatting between yourselves and is where most people start. Don’t jump straight to number 11 if that does not work – in most cases one of the other options will lead to a better constructed and more amicable agreement.
Get some help at this time
We discussed already how you can allow yourself to be a little selfish at this time. Well why not invest in yourself as well? Whether it is meeting up with friends to get matters off your chest and out of your thoughts, or taking real positive action and speaking to a divorce coach, a therapist or counsellor – even a life coach. Getting outside help, especially from an experienced professional, can help you focus and get through this difficult time.
You should also consider contacting Child Law Advice for any parenting matters and getting good independent legal advice for financial issues. All these can be positives and help you get through the next steps healthier and happier.
Don’t rush into a new relationship
We know every situation is different, but if you are going to have two years working on yourself and towards this fantastic life you have set your mind on, you are going to be a particularly appealing partner for someone new! There are over 100,000 divorces each year in England & Wales and many more people going through a separation. Your future partner may be in exactly the same situation as you currently are. When you feel ready to start dating again, you want to be the best version you can be. You don’t want to spend the evening of your first date, discussing divorce issues and how difficult your ex is being.
Taking time out from being in relationship helps you focus on what you really want in life. Enjoy the moment whilst it is there for you.
Find Your Future
Our tag line at Mediate UK is “Find Your Future”. We chose this as it sums up exactly what we help clients do. Yes, we can get clients to an agreement, process legal paperwork, and help with an amicable divorce. But the main benefit we provide is to allow you both to move on with your lives. No one wants to be stuck in an endless cycle of legal bills, court dates and stress. Instead you want to know where you will be living, how much you have to afford household bills, whether you can afford a holiday anytime soon and how often the children will be spending time with each of you.
Getting these practical matters sorted allows you to focus more on the emotional side. And having these issues resolved helps immensely with your own mental wellbeing. If you are struggling to resolve matters on your own, then family mediation is the next logical step to try in most cases. Whichever method you use, the outcome should be one that allows you to move on to what definitely can and should be an amazing future for you. Even if it is different to the one you originally envisaged when you first got married.
Done well, you can start taking steps to an amazing future.
When life screws you over, when people screw you over and let you down. You need to stop focusing on what is happening to you and focus on how you’re responding. Because life is never happening to you. Life is responding to you, your thoughts and your actions. Stop focusing on people who did bad to you and start focusing on the love you can now cultivate for yourself. Ralph Smart
Ali Carter is Managing Director of Mediate UK and has helped in over 5000 divorces. He has also been through a divorce himself. You can book in a 1-2-1 45-minute consultation with Ali here or to start the process of family mediation and get the parenting and / or financial issues resolved, call us on 0330 999 0959 or email email@example.com
Mediate UK are a multi award-winning family mediation and amicable divorce service.
We can help you ‘find your future’ today. Contact our friendly team here.