Divorce is always portrayed as one of the most difficult things that you will go through and it’s true that divorce is a hard and rarely a pleasant experience. It’s a challenging time for everyone. It can make you and those around you feel angry, upset, guilty and tired and can be even worse for those who’ve suffered through an abusive marriage, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can help to ensure your divorce runs smoothly, to help reduce the pain and negativity for everyone involved.
This is a time when you need all the support you can get and to help you and your loved ones push through this difficult time, I’ve put together a list of tips to help things go as smoothly as possible:
- Think of the Children
In legislation all over the world, the general consensus is that the “interest of the child is paramount”. Here in the UK, The Children’s Act, 1989 not only says that the child's interests are of paramount importance in all decisions made about his or her welfare, but also the Act replaced the concept of parental rights with that of parental responsibility, reflecting Parliament's view that parenthood was a matter of responsibility not rights. This means that deciding when, where and how to tell your children that you’re getting a divorce is one of the most important things to consider if you want to prevent any damaging effects to their emotional and mental health as well as educational needs or risk any suffering as a result.
Start your journey by doing some research. Speak to other parents who have been through a divorce, who can offer helpful advice or seek professional guidance. Try to involve your ex-partner, if possible, with the research and ensure that they are involved in explaining things to your children, so that you both can offer the same reasoning, love and reassurance.
You’ll also need to consider practical scheduling for your children. Agree on who will have the children and when, factoring in special events, birthdays and holidays. You may not want to be away from your children at Christmas or on their birthday, but both parents need to co-operate to ensure that you are actively involved in your children’s lives.
Follow this link for further support on how to cope over the holidays without your children.
If you’ve escaped an abusive marriage with your children, you will need time to adjust. It’s also a good idea to seek counselling as a family and individually, to help each of you overcome any trauma that you have faced.
Surround yourself with friends and family who can support you and your children spiritually through prayer if you are a woman of faith, emotionally, physically and financially. Also try new activities to help your children make friends, discover new interests and guide them on the path to recovery.
- Who’s Moving Out?
Several things need to be considered when deciding who is staying and who’s leaving. Oftentimes, it’s easier if the parent who will be the primary guardian stays in the house with the children, as it helps to maintain a familiar, comforting environment.
However, in order for the other parent to be an active figure in your children’s lives they may need to live close by. Consider the practicalities of moving and how far is too far. If one of you is moving in with friends or family, how long it will work? Will you need to get a new job to support your family? Will you need to start looking for new housing or join a housing association register?
Search online for support and ask your local authority for housing and work advice. You might also be able to claim for additional financial support.
A great deal of women who’ve left violent relationships choose to move from the home in which it happened. This will help to create a fresh start with new people and a new home, away from painful memories. You will be able to create a safe environment for you and your children where you can grow as individuals and as a family.
- Update School Information
Ensure that you advise your child’s school of new addresses or contact details for you and your ex-partner and ensure that both of you receive any letters or notices to keep everyone up-to-date on what’s going on. It will also benefit your children to know that they can talk to both of their parents about anything happening at school.
It’s extremely important to let your child’s school know if there are any problems with violence at home and if you’ve split from your ex because of violence. Keeping them informed will prevent your partner from taking your children out of school without your permission and without you being notified.
- Stay Connected
We know that most relationships don’t end amicably. Speaking to your ex might be the last thing that you want to do but it’s something that you have to consider for the sake of your children.
Find the method of communication that works best for both of you. If you don’t want to speak face to face, instead stay in touch via text or email.
Alternatively, you might wish to seek a mediation service or counsellor who can provide a safe, monitored and organised space for you to meet with your ex-partner and discuss what’s best for your children.
Divorcing, with children involved is not an easy journey to undertake, but it is one that can be made easier for everyone involved if you openly communicate with each other, seek advice and do what’s best for your children.
The following tips are specifically aimed at those who have escaped a violent marriage or relationship:
- Stay Safe
If you are a woman of faith, I agree prayers are very important, you should if you can intercede for yourself, your marriage/relationship, however keeping yourself and your family safe from your abusive ex-partner should be your number one priority. Inform the police, tell your friends and family. Cut all ties from your ex-partner, take your children and go somewhere safe, somewhere your ex wouldn’t think to look. Change your number and be vigilant.
Under no circumstances should you arrange to meet with your ex-partner, especially not alone.
- Change Your Address
I already touched on this above but wanted to stress the importance of it again. Not only will moving home provide you and your family with a fresh start and chance to recover and rebuild after abuse but it will also prevent any further contact from your ex-partner and so will provide a safe, secure environment for you and your children.
Follow this link to an article I wrote in February for more support and guidance on how to recover from domestic violence.
Whatever you do, take the process in your stride, it is all part of your Believe and Live Again recovery, bounce back and transition journey from being a “we” to becoming a “me”.
If you would like to have an informal chat about it, don't hesitate to get in touch on: +44 208 938 3672 and myself or a member of my team will gladly schedule a Complimentary Believe and Live Again Coaching Discovery session or a no-obligation 30 minute "Forgive and Let Go" consultation and together, we could be embarking upon the Believe and Live Again 5 R's journey to heal your heart, outgrow your challenges and let go of the past so that your glorious future can finally emerge.
Once again, I invite you to contact me or schedule a time to talk, call: +44 (0) 208 938 3672 (24 hours) or click on the pink "Contact" at the bottom right hand side of this page and this will take you into my "Let's Talk" contact form. Kindly complete the form and you will get a call back.
In the meantime, until next time, Keep Smiling, Keep Strong and Keep Believing.
Best Wishes and God's Blessings