There were over 128,000 divorces in the UK in 2008. The UK divorce rate has steadily grown over the past thirty years and although the administration process has become easier to understand, the emotion, stress and conflict is just as hard as it’s always been.
If you are contemplating getting divorced, Money Mentor Michael Taylor recommends you should give yourself “at least 30 days to prepare yourself for the storm ahead before starting or announcing any divorce proceedings."
Announcing that you are starting divorce proceedings typically does not elicit a positive response. In reality, it often elicits shock and then hostility resulting in all sorts of activities geared at hurting the partner who starts the divorce proceedings”
He advises that the reason you should give yourself this planning time before you start your divorce proceedings is “to perform a risk assessment to identify where you are financially vulnerable. This is usually in the area of where joint accounts are currently operated. I’ve had many cases where one partner has emptied the joint bank accounts leaving the other partner in financial hardship.” He goes on to clarify that “I’m not suggesting you use this time to strip your partner of any money before you announce divorce proceedings, but use the time to set up your own current account and categorise your own expenses against the joint ones and the ones which your spouse is responsible for. Along with this you need to prepare a detailed budget for you (and any children you have) on how and where you are going to live. This process is essential and using this time to think about your life separated from your partner in detail, will help you decide if you really want to get divorced”.
Michael Taylor states that the first 3 months are the hardest to deal with and typically money is the biggest source of conflict between divorcing couples.
As a veteran of two acrimonious divorces Money Mentor Michael Taylor takes his philosophy from the poem “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.”
Michael explains that “In essence divorce is dealing with the process of change and acceptance and both of these processes are challenging for any person.” He goes on to explain that “keeping emotions separate from the administration process is not easy but if you can deal with them separately you are over halfway there.”
Based on his own experiences and coaching individuals who are going through divorce Michael recommends the following tips entering and emotionally surviving a divorce.
1. Before you do anything make sure you have familiarised yourself with the actual divorce process. The courts service have some excellent clear information as to what’s involved at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/divorce/index.htm
2. Before you start the divorce process make sure you know exactly how you intend to run yours and the joint finances until you are divorced. Make a complete list of your commitments and decide how you would like the finances to run in the meantime
3. It doesn’t matter what your reasons are for getting divorced. All the court cares about when it comes to deciding money is allocating the finances in accordance with the law and the best welfare for all parties
4. The next decision you have to make is whether to involve a solicitor. No matter what you read about DIY divorces you should have at least one meeting with a solicitor (many solicitors offer a one off meeting fee) to go through your questions and explain to the solicitor your grounds and circumstances. You should not make a decision about using a solicitor until you are 100% sure of your reasons for using one. For example you should use a solicitor if there is custody of the children, complex assets and financials and if you just don’t want to deal with your ex spouse.
5. If you’re using a solicitor never lose your financial reality. When you’re fighting through solicitors you’re just running up expensive arguments. On average divorce solicitors cost around £125 an hour and will quite happily listen to your frustrations and emotions for as long as you can pay. Remember as soon as you start talking to a solicitor the meter is running so know why you’re speaking to them and what you aim to get from the meeting or discussion
6. Find yourself a sounding board or a hobby/activity where you can get yourself away from the situation. The gym is a fantastic place to de-stress and even going for a run or get out for a walk will clear your head. Learning something new gives you something to concentrate on although getting in to a new relationship straight away is not recommended
7. Remember that the person who cares the least holds all the power so compose yourself and do not show any reaction. If you have to face your ex then keep the interaction to a minimum and do not get drawn into an unnecessary discussion. If a confrontation arises try your utmost to hold a position of “I really don’t want to get into an argument with you over this, send me an email with what you don’t agree with and tell me what you are proposing and I will get back to you”
8. Many individuals struggle with being on their own and long for things to return to how they were. Some clients have found keeping a personal journal where they regularly put their thoughts down can be very therapeutic and also a great sense of achievement can be gained by looking back on how you felt compared to when it’s all over
9. Any settlement money you receive should be used first of all to pay off any debt and then helping you decide your new living arrangements. Now you are on your own you are responsible for your own financial destiny and this is a great opportunity to put together plan to help you achieve your objectives
10. Never sign anything you don’t understand! Always ask if you’re not sure…
To speak to Michael, or to experience the Money Mentor first hand please contact Natalie@fullportion.com or call 0845 225 1500
Editors Notes: Michael is the Director of http://www.moneytactics.co.uk which conducts coaching for individuals, families and organisations on improving people’s relationship with money and teaches best practices on budgeting and planning on smart money techniques. They look at the psychology of spending and evaluate your every day relationship with money. During a session, Michael will have his clients fill out a survey which helps identify what type of person they are (martyr, fool, tyrant) and this will help identify what their spending habits are likely to be. He feels that goals are an important part to his sessions and says that “without goals the client often loses momentum and purpose as to why they are changing their financial life and resort to old behaviour” Moneytactics not only does one-on-one coaching but is an online source where people can register and use the service to make budgets, plan their finances and ask questions of the experts.
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