A rollercoaster of feelings: how a divorce progresses emotionally

Our approach at LGFL has always been that divorce is about much more than just the law. Separating brings its own rollercoaster of emotions that can dictate the progress and speed of your divorce.

With the introduction of no-fault divorce, it’s all too easy to see separating as just a long list of legal paperwork, submission deadlines and discussions about finances.

However, you should never underestimate the emotional impact it will have on you, your family, and your life both during and after your separation. Rita discussed this very issue in several interviews on national TV, radio and news podcasts on the day no fault divorce was introduced.

In the first of two articles, Rita expands on five key emotional issues raised by no-fault divorce.


Key emotions around no fault divorce

The rollercoasters of emotions our clients experience are never exactly the same, but there are key points.

1. “I want a divorce”

There is a moment where one of you needs to say that the relationship is over. Your partner’s response will very much reaction depends on where they are emotionally as a result.

    • Whilst one partner may have fallen out of love, the other may still have deep feelings and want the marriage to continue.
    • The announcement may come as a complete shock - they simply didn’t see it coming.
    • A single event might trigger that announcement, whether a minor argument that’s the final straw, or an unwelcome revelation such as an affair.

At that point, you or your partner may have already checked out emotionally. So the two of you will not be coming at the case from the same emotional angle. This dictates the entire direction of the case and how you and your partner reach agreement on your children and finances.


2. Focus and collaboration

When faced with the prospect of divorce, you may feel unable to make decisions based on commercial realities and sound financial sense when your emotions are on the way.

That’s why it is important to seek legal advice early on, to understand what is involved and what is required. At LGFL, we have a very specific approach at this stage, that of sound, pragmatic focussed advice through empathetic listening. This unique and holistic approach we offer as a boutique firm helps our clients through this life-changing process.


3. Collaboration not combat

The new no-fault divorce process is designed to take some of the heat out of divorce by removing the need for one partner to blame the other. As a couple, you can apply jointly for divorce with no blame involved, which should make it easier to work together.

You will both still need to each have your own lawyer to ensure you get the advice that’s best for your situation, as we can only act for one party. What’s more, we want you to know that we are supporting you, and we are on your side, regardless of the fact that we won’t always tell you what you want to hear!


4. Keep talking

Keeping communications open is crucial. It’s all too easy to shut down and put up barriers. Instead, all communications with your spouse and your legal team should be transparent and honest. You can include boundaries such as no late-night emails after a glass or six, and not venting emotions or mudslinging in social media posts.

If you need to talk to someone about your emotions at any stage, consider seeking professional help from a counsellor or therapist. Talking it through with them may help reduce stress and anxiety triggered by your strong emotions.


5. Divorce and your children

Your separation will have a major impact on your children both emotionally and practically. It’s also going to affect you both in different ways, and not always how you might expect.

    • Your partner may be unwilling to let go and co-parent on an even basis.


    • One of you may be unable to separate their feelings from what is right for your children and accept the harsh realities of living apart.

You need to find the best way to prepare and support your children for separation, whilst reassuring them about their future. For their part, your family lawyer is there to advise you and take care of the legal side of child matters.


More about emotional responses to no-fault divorce

In her second article, Rita will explain more about how the emotions invoked during your divorce might impact on extended family, friends, work colleagues – and into your future relationships.


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