Splitting up? Read this
Thinking about going solo in 2020? Let Muddy help you to happier times with some brilliant advice from a specialist family lawyer on how to manage your break-up.
It’s a sad fact but the New Year is peak time for couples making the decision to split. According to Rachel Buckley of The Family Law Company in Exeter, the firm sees enquiries rise by 60% in January, due to a combination of increased family time together over the holidays, followed by the pressure of reality hitting home and Christmas bills coming in.
On a famous scale devised by psychiatrists Holmes and Rahe in the 1960s, divorce came second only to the loss of a spouse in terms of stress. With that in mind, I asked Rachel: are there ways to limit the damage to yourself and more importantly, your children?
Here are her 10 tips for a stress-free divorce.
1/Don’t over-listen to friends
Each person is different, so don’t listen too much to friends who have been through a similar situation. While they mean well, they are not going to be entirely independent and may not help you see things objectively.
2/Watch your wellbeing
Look after yourself: eat well, exercise, spend time with friends and long walks can help you see the bigger picture.
3/Remember this is temporary
Although this process may seem interminable at the time, it isn’t forever. Things will get better.
4/Get reliably informed
There is a great book which my firm has contributed to called 101 Questions Answered about Separating with Children (Bath Publishing, £23.99). It answers, in plain English, the questions lawyers most often get asked and range from the immediate and practical, such as ‘Can I change the locks?’, through to the strictly legal such as, ‘What happens to my will on divorce?’, to some that are a bit of both such as, ‘I have an abusive ex. Is mediation right for me?’
5/Choose your solicitor carefully
Ensure they are a specialist in family law and look for someone who talks plain English and who you are comfortable with. Ask about their experience, the outcome of their last case and how they will communicate with you – phone, email or letter and whether you have a choice.
6/Don’t be your own Google lawyer
Relying on the internet for your divorce knowledge isn’t wise. You might be looking at American law which is completely different to the UK’s.
7/Make a record
Buy yourself a set of folders and keep all your papers collated in an indexed file, so it’s all at your fingertips.
Keep notes about anything important. It helps when you need to find information quickly, and keeping a diary of how you are feeling is good therapy.
9/Keep the kids out of it
As tempting as may be to involve your children, only speak positively to them about your partner. Remember that this is their parent, who they love. Besides, the better behaved you are, the more it exposes any bad behaviour from your ex.
10/Do the write thing
Avoid entering into lengthy communication or texts with your ex as this could potentially be used in court. Everything you write needs to come across as reasonable and dignified, dealing only with the facts in mind and nothing you wouldn’t want a judge to see.
Want more advice from Rachel?
Whether you’re going through the pain of a divorce or trying to sort out a dispute over the children, it pays to have a specialist on your case. The Family Law Company do what it says on the tin – family law and nothing else. If you’re need of advice, and a friendly face, get in touch with Rachel for a free initial consultation.
The Family Law Company, Balliol House, Southernhay Gardens, Exeter EX1 1NP Tel: 01392 421777