IT’S National Divorce Day, when attorneys are inundated with questions from couples who have found the festive period to be the last straw.
More than 40,000 Britons are unhappy with Google’s “divorce” every January, and as it’s the first Monday of the new year, law firms are bracing for a bountiful day.
Divorce coach Sarah Woodward said the seasonal spike was due to the pressures of Christmas, when families spend more time together.
She explains: “Often couples have problems in their relationship and they hope that spending time together will bring them closer, but it doesn’t.
“Financial stress and the desire to have the perfect Christmas make it all go away and that’s the last straw.
“Others may have been waiting to have one last Christmas with the kids before continuing to part ways.”
This April, new “no fault” divorce laws come into force in England and Wales, meaning couples can file for divorce sooner and not be blamed for the breakdown of their marriage. .
But is divorce really the answer for you? Take the quiz below and read Sarah’s advice to see if it’s time to let it go. And she offers tips on how to navigate the divide.
Test your relationship
1. If you buy a new set of clothes, your partner has…
A. Compliments you on how it looks
B. How much is the price?
C. Request a receipt
2. How often do you argue?
A. Once or twice a month
B. Every day
3. At the end of a working day, you have…
A. Looking forward to hurrying home
B. Seize the opportunity to hang out with colleagues
C. Worrying about your partner’s mood
4. What’s your perfect weekend?
A. A combination of alone time with your partner and socializing
B. A weekend at home with your partner but both doing your own thing
C. An outing with friends
5. Something happens in your day, good or bad, and you want to share. You have?
A. Call your partner
B. Call your mother
C. WhatsApp your friends
6. Your partner arranges a night out with friends. You have?
A. Arrange to meet your own friends
B. Feeling relieved that you have a home of your own
C. Check his/her Facebook and social networks before, during and after
7. If you imagine your partner with someone else, do you feel…
C. Don’t care
8. Has your child ever shown concern about your well-being?
B. Just after an argument
IF you answered mostly Like: Don’t sign, it’s okay. Overall, your relationship is still good and lines of communication are open. You strike a balance between being together and spending time with family and friends. Arguing from time to time is part of a strong marriage and helps each partner know what the other feels strongly about.
Mainly Bs: There is still hope. You may argue a lot or feel left out, but your problems may not be insurmountable. All marriages face difficulties but it is important that you work through your problems while you still can.
Mainly Cs: Ask for a lawyer. You seem quite unhappy. So if you feel like you can’t fix things, you might want to think about your next step.
How to deal with divorce
DIVORCE will always be tough, but here Sarah shares some tips to help you cope.
- Make sure you have your support team in place. An attorney, if you need one, and a financial advisor, but also friends and family to talk to. It’s not necessarily the people closest to you because while their hearts are in the right place, they may be over-invested. Choose friends and family who are good listeners, don’t judge you or tell you what you should do.
- Allow yourself to become attached to your feelings and feel them as part of the healing process. Divorce is the second most traumatic thing you can go through in your life, after the death of a loved one. You’re going through grief, so know that it’s normal to feel what you’re feeling. Avoid distracting techniques like working long hours, as that will come back to bite you.
- Consult a financial advisor early in the process. They can model your future assets, income, and needs and put you in a much stronger position to negotiate a settlement. If you stay friendly, you can avoid expensive legal fees. You should have a lawyer review the final settlement, but the actual court fees for a divorce are £593 and engaging in a legal battle will cost you thousands of dollars.
- Let’s share it with the kids together. And plenty of time to answer their concerns. Reassure them that you both still love them and that it’s not their fault.
- If you are raising children together, keep the relationship friendly. When the kids come to stay with old friends, get excited about them and ask them what they did when they got back, so they don’t feel guilty for having a good time with the other parent.
- Get some exercises. Being active is key to boosting your mental health, even if you’re just going out into nature for a 20-minute walk a day.
- Practice gratitude. It can be difficult as you go through a divorce, but every day think of three things you are grateful for. Studies have shown that it has a major impact on mental well-being after just three weeks.
- Take a break from social media and at the very least, unfollow your ex. The last thing you want to do is observe their seemingly happy lives.
- Have compassion for yourself. It’s easy to be filled with self-loathing and self-criticism, but talk to yourself like you’re a best friend.
My View by divorce coach Sarah Woodward:
Divorce is a huge deal, both emotionally and financially, and should be a last resort.
Before diving in, ask yourself: Do you still love your partner?
It’s not always easy to say but ask yourself how you would feel if he or she moved on. If you can’t stand the thought of your partner with someone else, that’s a sign you shouldn’t walk away.
Consider whether you can solve your problem, perhaps through counseling. Sometimes, even though we love our partners, the relationship may not work out, like if you both want different things in life, such as children.
Ask yourself if your unhappiness is really the result of a deadlock, illness, problems at work or with your children – pressures that can be worked out.
Do you have unrealistic expectations of your partner? It’s not fair to expect them to meet all of your needs. You should have a support network of friends and family.
Ultimately, is this a knee-jerk reaction to something a partner did? Perhaps he or she cheated, and you see that as a deal breaker. In a recent survey, 94% of their counselors believe a relationship can survive infidelity.
I always tell my clients that you need to make sure you leave a marriage with no regrets. When they come to see me, we work through the problems and draw up a plan of action, so that in three months they can really work on making their marriage a success.
The grass is not always greener. Let’s take a look at what you both have in life and whether it’s worth it.
https://www.thesun.ie/fabulous/8180181/test-relationship-marriage-hitting-rocks/ Test your relationship with our ‘Date of Divorce’ quiz as experts reveal 8 signs your marriage is falling apart