Family Law in Partnership (FLiP) explain how to maintain your wellbeing while going through a divorce
You might think that wellbeing and divorce are complete opposites. How can a divorce be anything but damaging to your mental and physical health? Divorce is the second biggest life stressor, after the death of a partner, so it comes as no surprise that divorce can be detrimental to your wellbeing.
Everyone’s experience of divorce is different, and deeply personal. Throughout the divorce process our clients can experience a whole range of emotions from relief, anger and frustration through to fear of what the future may hold. Despite this, divorcing couples are expected to engage in the divorce process in a rational and considered way as they make decisions which will have long term consequences for their financial future and the future of their children.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to maintain and even promote your wellbeing during a divorce. And if you take these steps, our first-hand experience shows that it can make your journey through divorce so much easier.
FLiP’s Top Ten Tips for Maintaining Wellbeing During Divorce
1. Divorce is an emotional process
Recognise that divorce has emotional as well as legal repercussions, and that it is vital to tend to both. Attending to the emotional aspects of separation in a conscious and deliberate way can allow the legal process to run more smoothly and quickly. It is a common misconception that relationship counsellors exist to save marriages. In fact, relationship counsellors very often play an instrumental role in helping people to leave relationships constructively, for the future wellbeing of the individual and their children.
2. Find the right lawyer
Think carefully about which lawyer to instruct – it is really important. Find a lawyer you trust to guide you through the divorce process with care and compassion. Unfortunately, not all family lawyers adopt a constructive or child-centred approach to their work. There are some who take pride in adopting an ‘aggressive’ style, with a focus on court battles and reported cases. Those couples who go on to achieve a constructive divorce recognise that the kind of lawyer who tries to deescalate, rather than inflame, relations between the couple and narrows rather than widens areas of disagreement, will make all the difference to the path their divorce takes.
3. Put the children first
Focus on the welfare of your children; they did not ask for the divorce and are often the ones paying the highest price for it. Thinking through what it is like for them and then doing your absolute best by them has never worked out badly for any parent.
4. Think of the ‘bigger picture’
The ending of a relationship is often an emotionally challenging, and at times overwhelming, experience. When you are in the midst of this whirlwind of uncertainty, it can be exceedingly hard to recognise which issues are relevant to the legal process. A good family lawyer will provide invaluable guidance on the points that are worth pursuing in legal, financial and emotional terms.
5. Don’t blame others
Almost everyone emerges from a relationship breakdown instinctively wanting to tell everyone how good they were and that the problems in the relationship were the other person’s fault. Avoid this – let it go. All it does is generate the same in return and the swift descent into litigation.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Talking to friends and family can help to make sense of the emotional upheaval that you may be feeling. Consider using specialist counsellors and therapists like FLiP’s Jo Harrison, or the team at Rafan House. Speaking to a neutral, third party can feel really cathartic and can also avoid upsetting delicate family relationships.
7. Find comfort in the experiences of others
Your experience of divorce will be unique to you. But you may find some comfort in hearing about how others have navigated the choppy waters of divorce. Take a look at FLiP’s divorce diaries for an insight into how others have coped.
8. Find time for yourself
Allow yourself time to reflect on where you are now and where you want to be. Make time for exercise and fresh air. Try mediation or mindfulness. Remember that your mental health and physical health go hand in hand.
9. Look to the future
The divorce will come to an end at some point and although you may feel anxious about how life after divorce will look and feel, new opportunities await.
10. Above all, be kind to yourself
Relationship breakdown is hard and for many it can quite literally be an emotional rollercoaster. However, with a conscious commitment to adopting a constructive approach whilst tending to your own emotional and physical wellbeing, you can look to the future once more.
FLiP takes a unique approach to family law, guiding you with exceptional legal expertise, integrity, and specialist emotional and practical support.
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