Between September 2019 and 2020, The Citizen’s Advice Bureau saw a 25% increase in divorce advice searches on their website.
It’s an unfortunate reality that the three-month ‘Stay at Home” mandate has wreaked havoc for many couples whose relationship problems were very likely camouflaged with a busy work and social life.
Even the very best of relationships have been challenged with unexpected home-schooling, redundancies, furloughs, financial challenges, and the death of a loved one. If your relationship was peddling water before Covid-19, then any of these issues would have sunk it for good.
Divorce is hugely stressful and emotional and if you’re navigating this in lockdown 2.0 whilst still living with your soon-to-be ex, then it’s important to get these five people in your divorce support corner as soon as possible.
The Non-Judgemental Friend:
Family and friends are generally on your side, but because of the nature of family friendships, they might be emotionally involved as well. The problem with this is you might not be able to handle their anger, sadness, resentment, and frustration on top of your own. Families often find it difficult to witness each other’s pain, and in an attempt to make them feel better, you might brush over your own healing.
Make sure you have a friend who you can call, who you know will be objective and non-judgemental. Someone who will let you get things off your chest, and not judge you or the other person, it’s often helpful, if this friend doesn’t know your partner.
The Legal Team:
Obviously, you will both need legal representation, even if your divorce is amicable. Do your best to find a family/collaborative lawyer, or mediator, as these people specialise in divorce law.
Shop around, do your research, if a friend gives you a recommendation, say thank you, but don’t feel obliged to go with that person. Find out how their divorce progressed? Was it healthy and amicable? Was it overly protracted? Was the settlement fair? Would you prefer mediation?
The attitude to divorce in the legal profession is changing considerably and many firms have an emphasis on “a better, healthier divorce for all concerned.” Find out your lawyers values, and speak to at least three before you decide.
It’s also useful to include as part of your legal team, a good financial adviser, so you can work together to map out your financial future, often people think about this after the event!
Professional Emotional Support – Divorce Coach, Therapist or Counsellor
If you broke your leg, you would go straight to the hospital and get it fixed by an orthopedic doctor. My observation is that so many people wait until the divorce proceedings are over before they get emotional support. Why wait? Divorce proceedings can take between 2-5 years!!
Working with a divorce coach will help you to navigate and process the big difficult emotions that arise. The right coach will teach you tools and techniques to transform stress, get clarity on what you want, and to resolve conflict. Not all divorce coaches are the same, pick one who can help you to understand and heal your relationship patterns and dynamics, so you can move forward and create healthy loving relationships in the future. This is essential as 67% of second marriages fail.
A Trusted Childcare Service:
You will need a break from your beloved children! If you’re lucky enough to have family and friends nearby who can help, then that’s wonderful. However, I absolutely recommend finding a separate childcare service/babysitter, this will stop you from feeling guilty for having to ask again and again for help.
Depending on your children’s ages, there will be times when you will want to pop out for a yoga class, a night out with the girls, or have a work/social function. If you have to keep relying on family and friends it will stop you from going out and creating your new life. Find someone you can trust and who is reliable.
An Exercise Buddy:
If you weren’t a keen exerciser before your split then this person might not be on the top of your list. However, exercise will make a significant difference to your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. If it’s the very last thing you feel like doing, then you need someone who will knock on your door (if necessary), make plans with you, and hold you accountable. If you don’t have a friend nearby, then I recommend a personal trainer.
I know I said 5, but there’s a bonus person and that’s someone you can have a good belly laugh with, who will help you find those tears of joy!