Authors Phyllida Wilson and Maxine Pillinger of A Woman’s Guide to Divorce reveal the top ten things you might not have considered if you are on the cusp of a divorce.

Relationships on Female First

Relationships on Female First

You are not alone! There are 120,000 divorces every year in the UK – so taking into account the length of time it takes to Decree Absolute there are probably in the region of 250,000 women going through some stage of divorce at the same time as you.

It will take much longer than you could ever imagine - on average it will take about 18 months to get to the point of Decree Nisi.

Statistically speaking, January and February are the peak months to file for divorce in both the UK and the US. Couples often book their first appointment with a counselling service such as Relate in the first week of the New Year and by the last week one party is usually in a law firm beginning the long journey to Decree Absolute.

The emotions you feel may mirror those you feel when someone close to you dies (even if you are the one who wants to divorce) and in fact may exactly mirror those you experience in the Five Stages of Bereavement or the “bereavement curve”: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

Choosing your solicitor will be one of the hardest things you will have to do in the whole process and it is important to forge a close relationship with him or her. You need to have complete trust in your solicitor – and if you do not immediately “click” it is important that you just switch your solicitor at the earliest opportunity. 

Forming your inner circle is key to helping you through the process. Stick close to those friends and family you feel you can really trust. People love to gossip. We all know individuals who broadcast others’ incredibly personal details but feel that they have “carte blanche” to share them with others if they introduce it with “Don’t tell anyone but…” Gossip in the context of your divorce can be dangerous to the outcome of your settlement and to arrangements regarding your children.

You will have to be more restrained in all your communications than you have ever been before. It is vital to pause before communicating with your ex, your lawyer and your work colleagues. Draft your emails first and review them before sending. Don't dial or text and don't offload at work. A simple knee-jerk response to something your ex has sent you can be disastrous and you will never be able to turn back the clock.

Keep a diary. It will act as vital contemporaneous notes later for your lawyer and will also help as a vehicle to offload your feelings, fears and joys.

Some degree of “extreme” divorce is experienced in a surprising percentage of divorces. Domestic abuse is experienced by1 in 4 of the general population so it goes without saying that “Unreasonable Behaviour” is likely to encompass a substantial percentage of those going through the divorce process.

The relationship with your ex doesn’t stop at Decree Absolute – it continues for many years afterwards, especially if you have children.

A Woman’s Guide to Divorce by Phyllida Wilson and Maxine Pillinger (Robinson, £9,99).

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