According to a 2011 census in England and Wales, 42 per cent of marriages end in divorce. The Best You chats to people about their experiences, and asks a few experts for their advice.
For me, divorcing was a sad occasion. Because of the lack of understanding, my parents disowned me and took the side of my wife. Eventually they understood why our relationship had broken down and accepted my decision to separate.
I decided that the best course of action was divorce because I found that our relationship had become one of friendship rather than marriage.
It was an amicable split. Although we were separating, I still loved my wife and never wanted to hurt her. The children were the most important thing then, and still are now. My wife and I were adults and discussed everything as adults.
Divorce has it’s pros and cons, for example the pros are it stopped the unnecessary arguments in the family home in front of the children. It has enabled us to remain amicable and keep our focus on our two daughters. A major con was dividing the mortgage and bank accounts. It works out more expensive living separately than together.
I think many relationships end in divorce because the pressures of life and lack of communication all add to the breakdown of relationships. It is important to make time for your marriage and one another and discuss problems openly.
If you have children, it is important to keep them away from the process of divorce and maintain a healthy relationship for them, even if that is detrimental to future relationships. The children must come first.
My ex-husband appeared to be perfect. He was charming and witty with his own business and a beautiful house. I moved in with him, but the charming veneer quickly wore off.
At one point I began to realise that it didn’t have to be this way and tried to leave. He broke down, begged me to stay and asked me to marry him. We launched into preparations for a big wedding and I felt convinced things would change. Two months before the wedding I returned from a holiday with my mother to receive a pre-nuptial agreement through the post. It stated that after a year I would get a small amount of money and a car. I should have cancelled the wedding but he talked me round and we went ahead.
I also worked for my ex-husband, and six weeks after the wedding he sacked me for not wearing the company t-shirt and, in front of all of the staff. Shortly after that, my son and I moved out.
I fought my divorce as best as I could. My husband was worth several million but the pre-nuptial would have left me unable to put a roof over my son’s head. I came away with just enough to buy a small house and a car. My solicitor urged me to fight on but I just wanted him out my life. The lessons I had learned from my marriage made me strong enough to cope with anything life throws at me.
Ask the expert
Janet Murray: Personal, Relationship & Divorce Coach
Divorce is one of those things in life that nobody expects, few of us have experienced before, and can have a devastating impact on our family, health, career, finances and self-esteem. Yet it’s something most of us battle through alone, relying only our lawyer and our friends & family to support us through.
Quite frankly, we seem to seek more support and guidance on holiday destinations than divorce: but a lousy holiday is a lot quicker to get over than a lousy divorce.
Is my marriage really over?
If you are at the stage where you are contemplating separation or divorce, ask yourself these questions to check whether the relationship is truly over.
- Is there any chance that your marriage can be saved? Can you honestly say that you have explored all the alternatives to separation or divorce? Have avenues such as relationship counseling or seeing a mediator to discuss your problems been considered?
- Can the issues be worked through? Are there any alternatives to divorce?
- Remembering that a relationship breakdown is never all one person’s fault, are you taking your responsibility for your share in the breakdown of the relationship, and if you aren’t is there anything you can address that might make a difference?
What do I need to do if I’m getting a divorce?
Get organised: If you make the decision that divorce is the way forward, it is essential to get yourself organised. Put a plan in place for dealing with the legal issues such as choosing a lawyer if appropriate, considering whether a conciliatory approach is possible, mediation, and so forth. When seeking legal advice, it is advisable to meet up with a few lawyers to see which one feels like the best one for you- it is really important to ask yourself whether you can have a good working relationship with this person.
Get Support: Apart from the support of your family and friends, this might be the time to consider counselling. You might want to also seek the assistance of a divorce coach to guide you through the process. This will help you to manage your stress and think clearly so you can make the right decisions, and help you with a co-parenting plan to minimise the impact of divorce on your children. It can also save money by avoiding costly mistakes, and finally look at how you can come out the other side post divorce and create and map out a happy future for you with the life and relationship that you really want.
Take Care of Yourself: Taking good care of yourself at this time is so important, and be aware that your body feeling exhausted through all the emotions that you are going through is a signal to tell you to slow down. This is a time where you may need to rest more, and allow your body to process the emotions it is feeling. Remember, you are the most important person in this right now and when you are OK, that will have a positive effect on all those around you who you love and care for.
Top tips from a top divorce attorney
Leesa Longden-Thurgood: Chartered Legal Executive
- Seek legal advice early and don’t delay
- Be organised and prepared
- Make friends with your accountant
- Have a shoulder to lean on
- Be realistic
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