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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

How to protect your mental health in divorce

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Divorce and mental health.

The mental anguish caused by a relationship break-up and the problems that this can cause can so often be overlooked when there is so much else going on.

You might expect to be a little more under pressure than normal when going through a divorce. There is so much to think about, so much to sort out and yet daily life, with job, kids and a home, still has to go on. This may mean they are not looking after their own emotional well-being.

A recent report from Science Direct highlighted the fact that a break-up is particularly distressing whether you are married or just cohabiting if you are parents. There may be guilt added to all the other emotions if children are involved, among other things. The children as well will feel the split keenly and the affects can be wide-ranging.

Around 120,000 young people in the UK are currently caught in the middle of family divorce and separation. Emotional and behavioural problems in children are more common when their parents are fighting or separating and children can become very insecure, says a study from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. They have produced a fantastic leaflet to help parents help their children through this emotional time. It looks at how children are affected. For instance, a child may feel:

  • a sense of loss, they could lose their home and their regular way of life
  • fearful - if one parent can go, perhaps the other will do the same
  • angry about the relationship breakdown
  • worried or even guilty that they have caused the separation
  • torn between their parents.

The Duchess of Cambridge this week released a video message in support of Children’s Mental Health Week calling on people to help children reach their true potential. It looks at mental health issues among youngsters and there is no doubt divorce or separation can be a contributing factor for many.

There are a lot of sources of help out there for families in crisis. Don’t forget also that a good, specialist family lawyer can help take some of the stress out of the process to help your emotional wellbeing – and, ultimately, that of your children.

Choose a Resolution lawyer, one committed to non-confrontation, and listen to their advice about not fighting over the small things, trying to point score or rising to bait set by your ex. 

Make sure you choose a solicitor who will provide clear advice in terms you can understand and not bombard you with jargon.  

You also want a lawyer who will give you the time you need to reach decisions rather than push you through the process if you are unsure at the start.

Finally, be clear about the costs involved. Ask about a fixed fee. 

Working with the right lawyer can help save you a lot of mental anguish. However, if you are going through divorce and really struggling to cope with the emotional impact, there are places you can go for help:

Parenting Lives, who recently contributed a blog to our website, offer direct advice and support to partners who are going through divorce and separation.

Relate, often thought of as an organisation working to keep people together, can also help you come to terms with the end of a relationship.

Voices in the Middle is a new resource being designed for young people who are experiencing divorce and separation.

Family Lives has several videos and other resources including tips for dealing with stress and depression when going through divorce.

Kids health has a really useful article on how you can help your child through a divorce.

Divorce is difficult – do take care of yourself through the process.

Andrew Woolley
Woolley & Co, family law solicitors

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