A divorce is always going to be difficult, no matter what terms you ended your relationship with your spouse on. Whatever the reason, it’s important for everyone involved, including children, both of your families, mutual friends, and yourselves that the divorce goes as smoothly as possible and that everyone remains civil. So, how do you make sure this is the case during what will probably be an emotional time for everyone?
1. Sort out your assets as soon as possible
To speed things along, you will need to request a matrimonial valuation from a professional surveyor. This is so that the both of you can start moving on with your lives. You may decide to sell up, or you or your spouse could buy each other out. While there are horror stories of the wife or the husband being left with nothing, in reality, it is often more of an even split in monetary terms. You will need a matrimonial valuation in order to assess the value of your property and the claims each partner has to the property. Then you can start organising selling the property, or transferring the deeds if one person decides to buy the other out.
If you are the one moving out of the family home, do your best to take everything with you when you initially move out. It can be hard on your spouse and the children to have your things laying around the house, and it will act as a constant reminder of your old relationship. It can also leave you tempted to use ‘picking things up’ as an excuse to visit if you have a change of heart, so it will be easier to make a clean break if you’re not constantly having to return to the marital home to reclaim your belongings.
2. Be mature about it
The main thing to remember is that it’s about being mature and considerate. While being friendly to your ex may be the last thing you want to do, remember that you are out of this relationship now, so contact will be limited, meaning you should try to remain civil if possible. It is harder to be kind than it is to be cruel, granted, but if there are other people involved in your relationship, you will need to keep their feelings in mind. Plus, if you speak without thinking, even in the heat of the moment, and the authorities get involved, you could end up getting into some serious trouble so it is far better to bite your tongue for now.
Going through a divorce is often an extremely painful procedure for all those involved. It may seem like your pain supersedes that of all others, but pain is relative and what you might be feeling is not so dissimilar to the feelings of your spouse and even of your children, even if they seem happy. Don’t make it any worse for yourself and your relatives by getting into spiteful fights.
3. If you have them – Don’t get the kids involved
If you have children, whether they are very young or teenagers or adults themselves, you will be doing them no favours by getting them involved in any squabbles between yourself and your partner. Even if it seems like something insignificant – such as picking up CDs or DVDs on behalf of the parent moving out – it puts your children in an awkward position where they may feel they have to tiptoe around mum or dad in order to avoid hurting them. Your children are not a part of your issue – ergo you should never involve them.
Even adult children of divorce will have trouble coping with the fact that mum and dad (or mum and mum/dad and dad) don’t love or get along with each other anymore. Their world has figuratively been turned upside down, so to use your children and pit them against your spouse and each other is simply selfish. Try to emphasise the fact that they are not loved any less and that the divorce is no fault of theirs. Children deserve a loving, supported home, whether it is from one parent or two.
Never bad-mouth your spouse in front of your children, no matter how old or young they may be, even though you may want to.
4. Organising personal affairs following the split
Once you have sorted the children and the property and your personal belongings out, it is important to start getting your affairs in order. It can be hard, adjusting to divorced life and this may seem heartless, but the sooner you sort it all out, the sooner you can move on. Such affairs include the potential amendment of your surname, all your current documents if you have moved house. You will also need to look into changing the address to which your bank statements are delivered, requesting a new passport for a change of address, replacing your current driver’s license and making the necessary amendments to your current will – if you have one.
Every minute detail may seem like another form to fill out, another bleak reminder of the relationship ending, but it is all for the best in the long run. Plus, dragging out such matters could have financial repercussions, so getting sorted as soon as possible is always recommended. Then you can start a new day, put the past behind you and look forwards to the future.
This article was written by Sara Bryant, independent writer for Brian Gale Surveyors who were consulted over the content.