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.