As family lawyers we see every day the impact divorce can have on those involved and their loved ones. We know this time is often extremely challenging, uncertain and can be difficult to navigate for both parties.
So who better to give some practical divorce advice than those who’ve experienced it personally?
We asked divorcees what advice they would give a close friend going through a separation. Our interviewees responded within three key themes; looking after children, a positive attitude and obtaining sound legal and financial guidance.
Put children first
Those with children commonly focussed their advice around their care and well-being.
One individual called for divorcing parents not to use their children as ‘pawns’ and another suggested that minors shouldn’t be involved at all, unless completely necessary.
A response from another parent focussed entirely on the children in the divorce scenario, saying:
“Divorce is a painful experience for everyone involved. It can be made difficult if resentment towards a partner is expressed through the children.”
Divorce advice is also given about shared custody of children, with one parent reminding readers:
“If a mother or father was an acceptable parent before the divorce, they surely remain one during and after, so the family should be able to coexist on a mutually shared basis. This allows both parents to share children happily, leading to balanced, nurtured and contented kids. Enforced absence can feel like a bereavement for all involved.”
All of the comments obtained from those with children voiced the opinion that minors should be the priority throughout.
Another response focussed on getting through the tough process with a positive mindset, saying:
“Nobody wants to be in that situation, but remember that it has happened for a reason and it will come to an end and you will be happier.”
The advice suggests those going through separation take it a day at a time. Try not to be too hard on yourself as guilt can trip you up in the long run. Multiple responses expressed the importance of finding a confidante to talk to about the process:
“You will be amazed at how many people will relate and support you.”
One interviewee suggested a short cooling off period before entering into negotiations and many felt it important that both parties remain as civil as possible. Overall, there is a resounding focus on maintaining as positive an attitude as possible.
Get advice from a professional
When it comes to legal and financial decisions, many specified the importance of getting professional help as soon as possible.
Feedback with specific guidance for those with immigration status suggested looking into getting support from international legal services.
Recommendations are also made for any domestic abuse issues to be reported to the police and social services, as this can be crucial further down the line.
Many people stressed the importance of keeping a cool head, saying:
“Think things through, don’t make rash decisions” and “try to stay calm during negotiations”.
Other responders talked about the need to remain as sensible and practical as possible, by being organised with your finances and informed about your position.
Overall the advice we gathered covers a few key areas of divorce, but each comment stressed the importance of making informed decisions. Here at Merrick we aim to be the pillar of experienced support that you can look to for honest advice.
Thank you to those who took the trouble to speak to us so honestly.
We also spoke with one mum in detail about the help she needed during divorce.