Ending your marriage is a major event that will have consequences for many areas of your life. Unfortunately, many people are not fully aware of what those consequences may be and it is not uncommon for people to start divorce proceedings without fully understanding all of the ways it may impact their lives. For this reason, it is essential to be prepared and to make sure you have the right expert advice from the outset.
In this blog, we cover some of the things you may want to think about when it comes to how to prepare for divorce in the UK, including how to prepare mentally and financially, as well as specific tips for men, women and parents. This can help you to put together a clear divorce plan to help you navigate this journey.
How to mentally prepare for divorce
There is no getting away from the fact that divorce can be mentally taxing. As well as dealing with the emotional side of your relationship ending, there are also going to be lots of decisions to make and practical matters to sort out.
Taking some time to make sure you are completely certain this is the right move is an obvious first step. Depending on your situation, it can be highly beneficial to try options such as marriage guidance or couple’s counselling or speaking to a counsellor or therapist one-on-one. If you are absolutely clear that this is what you want when going into the process, it can make the day-to-day stresses a lot easier to cope with.
It is also a good idea to clearly envision the future you want post-divorce. This can allow you to focus on what you are working towards, rather than just what you are leaving behind.
However much you prepare for a divorce, you may have bad days, days when you feel overwhelmed by the emotional turmoil or the practical issues that you need to resolve. It is important to accept this and think of healthy ways to deal with it. Taking care of your physical health – eating well, getting some exercise, time with friends or activities you will enjoy can stop you from dwelling on the negatives, and this is something else a counsellor or therapist can assist with.
The mental and emotional challenges of divorce are also something to think about when choosing a divorce lawyer to work with. The right family lawyer will offer more than just legal support – they should also be an empathetic guide through the entire divorce process.
How to prepare for divorce financially
The financial impact of getting divorced is often the biggest practical concern as it can have very real consequences for your standard of living and, in the worst cases, your ability to meet your basic needs. This is why it is so essential to get expert legal advice as early as possible.
An experienced family lawyer will be able to advise you on how to prepare for a divorce financially, including what you are entitled to in a divorce settlement giving you a clear picture of what you can expect. They can also advise on issues such as who gets to stay in the family home and whether you are entitled to spousal maintenance.
You should think about how you will meet your immediate living costs (and those of any children) while going through divorce proceedings. It usually takes at least several months to agree a financial settlement and, if court proceedings are needed, it can take much longer to split your finances.
If you have been reliant on your spouse’s income, now is the time to think about how you will fund your living costs longer term as well. This may include looking at what benefits you might be entitled to and, as mentioned above, whether you may be entitled to spousal maintenance.
While you might be concerned about your finances, you must be careful about what steps you take. Moving money into a private account your spouse does not have access to, for example, would be viewed as an attempt to conceal funds, which could cause problems if you did later need to rely on court proceedings to decide the division of finances.
We always recommend speaking to an expert family lawyer before making any financial decisions.
How to prepare for divorce as a woman
No two families are the same, but there are certain issues women still tend to be more likely to face when going through divorce than men. Whilst things are gradually changing, it’s still the case that women are more often the ones who earn less money and may have let their careers take a backseat in order to focus on raising children.
It is important for women to be very clear about their rights and what they are entitled to from the division of assets when planning for divorce. Speaking to a divorce lawyer early on can give you confidence about what your future may look like and the steps you need to take to protect your financial security.
Women are also more likely to be the ones filing for divorce, so it is good to understand the process and all the steps you need to take first if you will be the one starting proceedings.
How to prepare for divorce as a man
Common concerns men have about divorce include how much they will have to pay in maintenance for their ex-wife and their children, how they will maintain a relationship with their children, how assets will be divided and where they will live (especially if they have children who will stay with their ex-wife in the family home). The earlier you can think about these issues and get expert advice, the more prepared you will be.
One issue that men are more likely to face than women is a lack of strong social networks. Around half of men have no close friends, according to research, with many relying on their wives and partners for social connection. Divorced men often find themselves with a lack of close friends to turn to, which can leave them feeling lonely and isolated.
Men wondering about how to prepare for divorce should think about who their close friends are and, if they are concerned, make an effort to reach out to friends and start rebuilding connections. It may also be worth joining a club or other social activity to start building new social connections. This can make divorce much easier to cope with.
How to prepare for divorce as a parent
Getting divorced can be particularly tough for parents. Not only is there the worry of what the impact will be on the children, but also on your relationship with them. It is normal to worry about how you will be able to cope looking after children on your own when they are with you, as well as what effect it will have on your relationship when you are not with them.
The sooner you can agree arrangements for the care of your children with your former partner, the easier things will tend to be for both of you and for your children. You might choose to draft a more formal parenting plan. Having a clear plan in place means everyone knows what to expect, minimising uncertainty and any associated stress.
It is sensible to speak to a family lawyer as soon as possible, so you understand your rights as a parent. This can help with making sure that any parenting plan you make is fair to everyone, protecting your children’s best interests and your relationship with them.
Ideally, when planning for divorce, you and your ex should agree on what you will tell your children and how you will tell them, so they get the same message from both of you. We cover this more in our blog on how to tell children about divorce.
Useful resources to help you prepare for divorce
In previous articles, we have covered a number of subjects that you might find helpful when preparing for divorce. Below are some recent examples, and you can find the full list on our blog.
- Preparing to speak to a divorce lawyer
- Divorce Preparation Checklist – 5 things you didn’t know about divorce
- How to tell your husband or wife you want a divorce
Talk to Woolley & Co Solicitors about preparing for divorce
When deciding to get divorced, you need to be ready, both for the process you are about to go through and your new life, separate from your spouse. Taking the time to think about how to prepare for divorce and seeking the right expert advice can make the process much smoother and less stressful.
At Woolley & Co Solicitors, our expert divorce lawyers can offer specialist legal advice to guide you through a quick and stress-free divorce process. We can advise you on the full implications of getting divorced and everything you need to prepare for, then guide you through the entire process.
Divorce and family solicitor Haverford West