7 tips for dealing with divorce stress
Divorce is a process, not a single event. It’s not something that can be done in a week, a month, or sometimes even a year. During that time, you may find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster, full of high and lows. Those going through a divorce often say that the process was a stressful one. It is widely acknowledged that divorce is one of the most stressful times in peoples’ lives, and although there is no magic formula to remove it completely, there are certain steps which can be taken to alleviate the stress and worry.
- Don’t bottle things up; ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Sharing a problem or a worry with someone can help add a sense of perspective. Often, once you have talked through a problem with someone else, the problem isn’t as bad as you first thought. Although divorce solicitors are used to dealing with people at times of stress, remember that you should be paying for our legal skills, not our counselling skills. It may be much more cost-effective to discuss problems with a counsellor or similar professional, rather than your solicitor. Be careful before discussing problems with friends and relatives. They can often take positional views when a couple divorce, inflaming emotions and increasing stress levels rather than reducing them. Also, just because Brenda from the coffee shop got her divorce sorted in months and she got to keep the house, Buster the bulldog and the Range Rover, doesn’t mean that you will too! Every case is different.
- Seek help if you really think the stress is getting to you. Many people think that seeking psychological help is a sign of weakness that can be exploited by the other spouse. It is not; seeking psychological help is a sign of strength. It shows that you acknowledge you are struggling and are willing to do something about it. Clients can also be concerned about their spouse or partner recovering their medical records as part of the court process. Firstly, that is very unusual, but secondly, what are the medical records likely to show? That you are suffering from stress because of an abusive or controlling spouse.
- Take legal advice at an early stage and ask for an indication of the likely outcome. Uncertainty is a great source of stress when a marriage breaks down and although your solicitor is unlikely to be able to forecast the exact outcome of your case, they should, at an early stage, be able to give you an indication of the likely shape of the settlement. Having some piece of mind is always a good thing. Try to limit the ‘what if’s?’ and focus on the things you can control.
- Avoid making any hasty decisions. Accept the advice of your solicitor (see point 3). Remember to think through the consequences of any decisions and how they will impact you and your children, both in the short and long term.
- Give some thought to how involved you want to be in resolving your case. Alternate forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation or Collaborative law, will give you much more control over the resolution of your case. If, however, you find dealing with your spouse difficult or there are ongoing allegations of domestic abuse, it may be more appropriate to use conventional routes of resolution such as letter writing/negotiation or court. Every divorce client is different and solicitors will adapt to what works best for you.
- The cost of resolving a family law dispute can add to clients’ worries and stress. Don’t be afraid to discuss the likely cost of the process with your solicitor at the first meeting and then sense-check that first indication of cost at subsequent meetings.
- Focus on you. Keep yourself active and look to the future. Take responsibility for your own emotional well-being. Remember to eat healthily – the “divorce diet” is something to be avoided! Staying in a negative place is no good for you and will not help any children of the marriage. Although it may not seem like it at the time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Don’t suffer in silence or on your own. To find out more about the divorce process, visit our dedicated Family Law site.