Divorce: get good advice

May 11, 2012

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.



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  • Melissa May 14, 2012 at 2:14 am

    Yeah, divorce was the worst experience for me, mostly because I was fighting for custody of my two kids. Very ugly

    • Dulwich Divorcee May 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Sorry to hear that, Melissa. It’s an awful business and unfortunately no one comes out of it at their best. Hope things are a lot better now! x

  • Single Parent May 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    The only thing my ex ever did without much nagging was to sort out the divorce – one day the papers simply popped through the letter box. I was secretly impressed, if only he’d shown such initiative during our marriage!

    We managed to divorce without any acrimonious battles but we both sought advice from solicitors before discussing any settlement – I was surprised how much the advice differed between solicitors and it’s definitely worth finding one who specialises in this area.

    I pity anyone going through the process, not just because of the stress, but the end of the hopes and dreams that the relationship once held …. 7 years down the line I wouldn’t look back.

    • Dulwich Divorcee May 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Yes, it’s very sad, isn’t it? No matter what stage the relationship has got to by the time you divorce, you both had high hopes at one time ….. painful. I agree on solicitors – if I could do it again I’d choose someone less up for a fight, I think – prolonged everything and made it more acrimonious. But there we are, all done now thank goodness!

  • Naomi Richards May 17, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Good advice Alice. Too many people now divorcing and need the right information and guidance from experts.

    • Dulwich Divorcee May 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks, Naomi, you’re right, someone impartial and unconnected with either partner is definitely the best bet x