Most people in the UK who get divorced will only do so once. This means you learn about divorce on the fly, which isn’t ideal. I’ve been through a divorce, and in this article, I share what I learned from my divorce.
Put Yourself In Your Partner’s Shoes
Putting yourself in your partner’s shoes can really help get through a divorce.
– Question Your Partner’s Actions
When I got divorced, my ex-wife did many things that I couldn’t understand why she was doing what she was doing. It wasn’t until I started looking at those things from her perspective that I understood.
For example, I suggested to my ex-wife that we try mediation to resolve our differences. Mediation would be cheaper and quicker than using solicitors. She flat-out refused and said she wanted to go through solicitors. I couldn’t understand why she would want to do this; mediation seemed the much better option to me for the both of us. It wasn’t until I started to think as she did that I realised she was worried that she lacked confidence and would lose out. She later confirmed this was the reason why she didn’t want to do mediation.
I think it is generally fair to say that most women are more emotional than men. In my case, my ex-wife is a lot more emotional than me and this caused many problems.
Before doing or saying things, I would have to think about how my ex-wife would react to what I was saying or doing. It might not seem like an issue from a practical perspective, but will it cause an emotional reaction, making a mountain out of a molehill.
If I could see what I was doing would cause an emotional response, I would consider my approach to try and reduce the emotional response.
One problem I found with trying to anticipate my ex-wife’s emotional response was that emotions aren’t rational.
– Think Before You Act
It will save you a lot of time if you consider how your partner will respond to your actions before you act.
A lot of divorce is about negotiation and this will go a lot quicker if you’re realistic in your negotiations.
The problem is what is considered realistic in divorce is very different to what I would consider to be realistic in every other area of my life. This makes it especially difficult in the early stages of divorce to be ‘realistic’, as everything will seem completely unreasonable.
Speak To Friends, Family & Colleagues
When going through a divorce, having a support system is really important. You can ask friends, family, and colleagues for their opinions and get emotional support.
There are a few important things to remember when taking advice from friends and family:
- They will be biased towards you. Bear this in mind when taking advice, as what they tell you might not actually be reasonable.
- They are not going through a divorce, so it’s very easy for them to say things. For example, I often had friends (who haven’t been through a divorce) saying things like, ‘just take her to court’. This is easy to say, but in reality, it will be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful and there is no guarantee of the outcome.
- They probably don’t know all the facts. You will be the only person who has all the facts, and so you will be the only person who can make the most informed decisions.
Keep Emotions Out Of It
Getting divorced is an emotional time for most people, but you will find that things go a lot quicker and smoother if emotions are left out of the process.
Unfortunately for me, my divorce was not very amicable and my ex-wife is a very emotional person. This made my divorce drag on for much longer than it needed to and cost considerably more than it needed to.
Obviously, you can only control your emotions and not your partners. But, if you do control your emotions, you are probably less likely to trigger your partner, and so you can, to some extent, control your partner’s emotions.
Menopause And Divorce
Prepare for a rough ride If you’re getting divorced and your partner is going through menopause.
Before my ex-wife went through menopause, I knew very little about menopause. All I really knew was that it caused hot flashes and brain fog and messed with emotions. However, as I found out the hard way, it can have severe effects on emotions and reasoned thinking.
Do not underestimate the effects that menopause can have on women
The last thing you want in any divorce is emotions running high and a lack of reasoned thinking, which, unfortunately, menopause delivers by the bucket load.
I don’t have any practical tips or advice on how to deal with a menopausal woman going through a divorce. Personally, I was very careful to try not to say or do things that could potentially cause an emotional response or respond to some of the bizarre, hateful, untrue nonsense that my ex-wife would say.
Don’t Trust What Your Partner Tells You
When getting divorced, both parties want the best deal they can get. To try and achieve the best outcome, a fair amount of exaggeration, twisting the truth and outright lying goes on.
In my opinion, it is best to assume that everything your partner tells you is a load of BS, until you can verify what she has said.
Change Your Passwords
You and your partner may get on alright at the moment, but going through a divorce can soon change people. So, it’s a very good idea to protect yourself by blocking your partner’s access to all your accounts, and I mean all of your accounts.
Changing all your account passwords is a massive pain in the backside, but it is worth doing. Use a password manager to help set and store new passwords securely.
Do Your Research
The more you can learn about divorce, the better.
- If you learn how the UK divorce process works and read about other people’s experiences, then hopefully, you won’t have too many nasty surprises.
- The better your understanding of divorce, the less daunting it will be.
- The more you research divorce, the more options you potentially give yourself, whether that’s saving money, speeding things up or getting a better outcome.
Be Careful What You Say
Only say or write what needs to be said and not give any additional information. That additional information may come back and bite you in the arse.
Be careful what you say around others, including your friends and family, as it can get back to your partner. Hopefully, not directly with your friends telling your partner, but by them relaying what you said to someone else, and it makes its way to your partner.
Things you write in texts, emails, social media posts etc could potentially be used as evidence in court.
Do Not Bury Your Head In The Sand
Divorce is shitty, and there will be many times when you don’t want to confront what’s happening. Burying your head in the sand will cause delays and additional stress. At some point, you will have to confront it.
Do Not Go To Court
If at all possible, try and resolve your differences using mediation. If that doesn’t work, then try solicitor negotiation. If that doesn’t work, try arbitration. Do whatever it takes to avoid going to a divorce court to resolve your issues.
Reason to avoid going to divorce court
- Going to court is expensive. From what I’ve been told, expect to be paying at least £5,000 to go to court, and this number can soon ramp up into the £10,000s
- Additional time. When I was getting divorced, the estimated time to get to the final hearing stage was about 2 years!
- Unless you are in dispute over substantial amounts of money \ assets or complex circumstances, then it is not worth going to court.
- You actually have to turn up at court in person.
- Nobody knows what a court will decide. It might be something that neither you nor your partner wanted.
I don’t have any first-hand experience of going to a divorce court. But I do have a work colleague who went to court and regretted it. His divorce dragged on for over three years and the court basically said the same thing that had been concluded in the solicitor negotiations two years earlier.
Everything Is A Matrimonial Asset
If you’ve been married for a long time, assume that everything is classified as a matrimonial asset. This includes properties, investments, savings, pensions, vehicles and personal belongings.
Don’t think just because you had a particular asset or assets before you were married means it’s off the negotiating table. For example, if you owned a flat before getting married and then you and your partner lived there during your marriage, it will most likely mean that the flat is a matrimonial asset.
Work Out Budgets
It is a good idea to create a spreadsheet to try and work out all the divorce costs and your future financial needs. Do this for your partner as well, so you have a clear picture of what her financial needs are.
Early on in the divorce process, you and your partner will have to complete a full financial disclosure, so you will have all the financial information about your partner you need to create a spreadsheet.
Once you have a clear picture of your finances and your partner’s finances, it will make it much easier to negotiate a ‘fair’ financial agreement.
Conclusion – UK Divorce Practical Tips & Advice
Everyone is different and everyone’s divorce is going to be different. So, what I’ve written above might be beneficial to some but not very useful to others.
If you have any tips or advice that you want to share, then please feel free to add to the comments section below or get in contact
The information on the Just A Bloke website is based on personal experiences and opinions; It is not professional advice.