A Good Divorce: My Experience of Divorce
Today two of our former clients, Frances and Harry, share their personal experiences of the divorce and separation process. For further real life experiences of divorce and separation, visit our Divorce Diaries website here.
Frances’s husband had built the family’s fortune through his success in the financial markets. However, the stress of this lifestyle created a fraught relationship and eventually, after fifteen years of marriage, Frances thought there was no alternative but to separate, anticipating their twelve-year-old son sharing his time between their homes. They used the collaborative process to reach their divorce settlement.
The low point:
This was when we were on holiday. My husband of nineteen years wouldn’t take a photo of me because he thought I was a disgrace. He said to me with disdain, ‘You need to take a look at yourself’. I was completely devastated after years of being put down. I went to look in the mirror and saw a beautiful, attractive woman with a warm glow for life. Five years later, a divorce behind me and maybe a couple of pounds and a wrinkle more, I continue to be that attractive woman and celebrate the freedom I now feel.
The certainty that I did the right thing:
I am certain that finding a divorce process that took away any feeling of a fight was the right thing for me. I needed to be divorced and I needed transparency during that process for my sanity and peace of mind. Collaborative divorce brought both of us, our lawyers, accountant and financial adviser, around the table and kept the financial separation as factual as it could be so that decisions could be made with as little bad feeling as possible.
What I would have done differently:
The break up of a twenty nine year relationship was an extremely painful business and envisaging my future seemed impossible. However, things could not remain as they were. Rediscovering who I am and managing my own future after this process has been a very rewarding part of my life which, however emotionally challenging at times, I wouldn’t have done any differently.
What I wish I had known then:
This is not a question for me. Life for me has been a journey and I’m not sure that I would have known what to do with the knowledge I have post-divorce, pre divorce. I only know things now because of what I have been through!
Harry and his wife had been married for almost thirty five years at the time of their divorce. They had two adult children and had spent quite some time separated before finalising their divorce.
What I wish I’d known:
It may take time. Unless you are in a court process, you are reliant to a very great degree on co-operation from the other side. If they are reluctant to engage or, in no hurry to progress, you may be faced with delay which can lead to frustration. Be prepared to wait.
You may see a side of your partner that you haven’t seen before. Despite best intentions to keep the process amicable, once property and finance raise their heads, it may be difficult to keep things on an amicable basis. Be prepared.
It can be an expensive business and you may have to take decisions based not on what you feel to be right and fair but on what you can afford to pursue.
What I’d do differently:
Don’t procrastinate. Once you are certain that your marriage is over and that divorce is the way forward, get on with it. The longer the delay the more difficult it may become to separate out matrimonial assets as to who gets what.
During the course of the divorce you will hear and read and be given a great deal of advice. Take it all onboard but think things through for yourself, don’t be afraid to challenge and ask questions of your advisers. After all some of the decisions you have to take will have lasting consequences so its up to you to make sure you understand and are satisfied with the advice.
They say that divorce is one of the most stressful things you can go through and they are right, but try not to let it let it take over your life. Keep fit and healthy and find things to do to take your mind off the divorce. It will end, you will come out the other side and as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
And afterwards, when the settlement is done and the finances sorted and the bills paid, when it’s all over – let it go and move on.
If you have found these divorce stories helpful, do visit our divorce diaries website for more tips and advice on how to manage the divorce and separation process.
At Family Law in Partnership we understand that divorce can be incredibly difficult. We want to help, and we pride ourselves in doing things differently.
We have an award winning team of specialist family lawyers, arbitrators, mediators and family consultants. Whether you want someone with you every step of the way, or prefer advice as and when you need it, we can assist.