For the past number of years the internet has called the first working day in January #DivorceDay. Divorce Day 2 18 will be Tuesday January 2nd.
As someone who works with separating couples on a daily basis this hashtag seems very cruel and underestimates the courage and sacrifice that it takes to start divorce proceedings or book that initial meeting with a family lawyer.
For some, Christmas is a beautiful time of year where they spend hours gazing into loved ones eyes thanking their lucky starts for all that surrounds them. For the rest of us, Christmas can be quite stressful juggling your respective families, presents, cooking, travelling, children, jobs. Most of us will have powered through and enjoyed the vast majority of the holiday. Others will have suffered, some in silence, some not so silent. Once behind closed doors you have no idea what people are going through, there can be emotional pressure, financial pressure and even in the worst cases physical pressure exerted on partners.
In some cases, the decision to separate may have been made months ago, but with small children, people decide to leave any move to formally separate until the New Year. In other cases, spending that extra time at home, being unhappy, the New Year seems like the best time to make a fresh start.
Whatever the reason, January is a popular month to make the move to consulting a family lawyer, and if this is something that you’re going to do, you should not for one second worry about whether or not this is cliched or would be seen as you buying into the gimmick of #DivorceDay.
Things to consider when seeing a divorce lawyer:
1. Don’t worry about what others say, if you’re desperately unhappy, there’s a strong chance your partner is too, even if they haven’t directly said it.
2. Don’t get carried away and try to solve all your problems in a day. Your relationship will take a while to unpick, give yourself time to do it right.
3. Prioritise children over things and cash. Seems obvious but little ones get caught up in arguments far too often.
4. Choose your battles. You will each have to compromise during the course of your separations. You should save your energy (and legal fees) to argue over issues you are passionate about, and not to argue for the sake of it.
5. Do what you feel is right, and say what you feel is right to your legal team. If you don’t tell us, we won’t know.
And finally good luck. Clients often ask how long a divorce will take and I ask how long it took them to arrange their wedding. Usually the answer is around 8 months or a year. It easily takes that long for a divorce to be finalised so don’t let it consume your life. Be fair, be civil and you’ll soon be on the other side.