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Moving on post-divorce: some things to consider

Going through a divorce can be a long and stressful process for all involved. While it may represent the end of one phase of your life, more importantly it is the start of the next one.

This can be exciting for some and daunting for others, but regardless of how you feel about entering this new chapter, there are several things to consider in order to get the best possible start. Some are practical, some emotional but all are important.

On the practical side, there may be forms and documents to fill in that are not directly related to the divorce. Perhaps you want to change your surname. This means that changes need to be made to your passport, driving licence, bank details and utility bills. Filling in forms may seem like a minor issue but you may be surprised how many people find it challenging. Ticking the ‘Divorced’ or ‘Separated’ boxes can be seen by some as a sign of failure, but it should not be.

Then there’s issue of your will. That will need amending if there are any references to your former spouse. Bequests to former partners will automatically fail unless it is explicitly stated that the provisions should remain in place following decree absolute. The will should still be amended so that whatever was originally set aside for them will go where you want it to.

Another thing to bear in mind is the number of less ‘official’ issues you may face. There will invariably be some friends that you and your former spouse have made as a couple and when you divorce, they may feel like they have to pick a side. If they do not pick you, it can be a very painful experience but you do learn who your real friends are.

Many people may wonder what they will do on Valentine’s Day or their wedding anniversary. Invariably, the first year after the end of your marriage will be the hardest, but it gets easier each successive year. In the end, that’s the central message people need to take with them when they go through a divorce. There’s a reason that “time heals all wounds” has become a cliché. Give yourself time to adjust.

For more information on how to approach your post-divorce life, why not take a look at my book Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice from a Top Divorce Lawyer? The second edition was published at the end of last year and offers tips on how to best navigate the end of a relationship.

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known family law solicitors and divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

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  1. The Devil's Advocate says:

    Thanks for this and a good piece if advice for those in rhos position and a nice little money earner for you and or your colleagues too!

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Aptly named The Devil’s Advocate
      The book I wrote in memory and in gratitude to my late parents has become best seller n is now in its second edition updated this year. It cost far more than 99p each copy to write and produce and I am pleased to say has indeed proved to be a nice little earner for The Children’s Society a charity where all the proceeds go. My firm covered all the costs. We earned nothing as I intended.
      So please why not put your own money where your mouth is, download my book and in so doing give money to a deserving charity.

  2. Ayo says:

    Lovely write up Marilyn, I have to disagree on personal basis ,on the point of ‘changing of surname ‘ . I am divorced, and still go by my ex’ s last name, and remain unmarried when I do re-marry of couse that will change. I have considered changing back to my maiden name, but our children also have the same surname and are quite young, I feel not changing it for now will make them happy than the questions of ” why do you have a seperate name mum?” And the stories that comes after which to be honest they don’t need to know everything or need to feel like the name comes with a bad connotation so much that mum had to change it. Also is the forms/procedure to do a name change, if you’re as lazy as I am, I’ve tried to do it twice and I gave up.. There’s a lot of hassle and stuff to change round all because of a name?
    Also the point that ticking divorce or seperated boxes can be seen as a sign of failure.i could see why that might be true, but it does get easier as you get eased about the whole divorce, it then becomes the same as ticking male or female box ( you just tick) no sentiments. We struggle with things differently and also cope differently I might add.

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