I sometimes think, with divorce, that I really have been there, done that and been forced to give the T-shirt to my ex. Thank goodness, it’s done and dusted. But for some of you out there, it’s a new, raw and scary experience, where every phone call brings a risk of recriminations and every letter lying on the doormat makes your stomach swoop with fear.
I well remember the days when the divorce was going through the worst of many bad patches. We’d been to mediation and it had broken down, much to my ex’s fury. My lawyer looked over the terms discussed in mediation and pointed out I’d be left in a perilous position. I had no choice but to soldier on with my legal advice instead of going via the mediators.
It was unpleasant, it was stressful, it was very time-consuming. I had emails at all hours of the day and night, I had to photocopy documents constantly, I was always on the phone, I felt as though I was running a very inefficient, under-staffed, one-woman company whose sole output was misery.
But it came to an end. I got my scrubby piece of paper, the decree absolute (or is it the decree nisi? Lovely not to be able to remember) cancelling out that other, more glorious piece of paper, my wedding certificate. And, though at the time my guilt at the end of the relationship meant that I kept trying to appease my ex, my lawyer constantly told me to curb these impulses. It was good advice. Though I didn’t accept it at the time, and made some very costly concessions just because I had been left feeling so awful about everything, I now see it all differently. It takes two to make a happy marriage, so why would anyone assume one person can make the whole edifice collapse all by themselves? It takes two, most definitely. So remember, however guilty you feel (and whatever reasons you may have to put yourself in the wrong) you would not be in this position at all if you could continue to live with your ex.
Don’t do what I did, do what the lawyer tells you. If you don’t have a lawyer – get one! Maybe try the Law Society’s list, maybe get a recommendation from friends, maybe look at Online Divorce Experts. Whatever option you go for, good luck.