Leading UK Solicitors, Spratt Endicott have today announced that it anticipates 'Divorce Day' (usually the first monday in January) to be the busiest ever, owing to the strain caused by COVID-19.
The firm usually sees a 50% increase in new divorce cases each January but is expecting this number to rise in 2021 — which might not come as a big surprise to those of us who have felt the negative impact of the pandemic weighing on their relationships.
To put it into perspective, in 2018, Amicable, an online divorce service, predicted in January this year over 40,500 people in the UK were expected to search online for a divorce, with most of the searches taking place around January 8. This means that, if Spratt Endicott's predictions are correct, the number of people looking to separate this January could be well over 80,000.
If you're thinking about getting a divorce here are some things that might help you with your decision:
Read these two books
Speaking to friends and family can feel too scary and vulnerable so these two books come highly recommended by both marriage counsellors and couples thinking, and going through the early motions, of divorce.
If You’re in My Office, It’s Already Too Late, by James J. Sexton
This book helps you determine if your relationship is truly beyond repair. Sexton, a successful divorce lawyer who estimates the number of marriages he’s helped dissolve to number in the thousands, muses on what he’s learned about failed marriages from his work, and offers a guide to figuring out just how far gone your own relationship might—or might not—be.
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Reconcilable Differences, by Cate Cochran
Divorce is often equated with failure, but Cochran offers a different take, examining ten 'successfully failed' marriages—including her own—where divorce didn’t mean a cataclysmic breakup. Instead, these couples found their own way forward and made divorce a positive force in their lives, making up new rules that worked better for them and their kids. It's a great book for anyone who feels ready to start the process of a divorce but worries about its negative impact.
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It's cliched but that doesn't mean it's easy. If you're struggling to open up to family and friends then seek the advice of a marriage counsellor or therapist.
Perhaps it's something you want to do on your own, or perhaps you want your partner there to talk things through together. They say there shouldn't be three people in a marriage but sometimes having the perspective of a third party can be eye-opening.
Evaluate your fears
Sometimes we can all get wrapped up in our fears and make decisions based off of them, however it's important to get clear on what they are and how they might be driving us. This doesn't necessarily mean that we'll realise we should stay together but it does help to allay fears, whether they be about finances or children in a divorce or worries about whether our partner doesn't love us anymore.
Take some time to write them down and work out the evidence for these fears. You might want to do this exercise with your partner or alone.
Listen to this podcast
When thinking about getting divorced, or even going through the process of it, lots of people can feel isolated; like their situation is unique, or worse, or that no one will understand what they are going through.
The Dear Sugars podcast, hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond for the NY Times, fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return. It's comforting, it's honest and it can be easily listened whenever and wherever you are.
Write out a list of questions to get answers to
Begin assembling a list of your most critical legal questions. Do you separate or do you divorce? If you were to divorce, how do you go about it? Do you know the different ways? Is Mediation an option for you? How do you find a good lawyer? What are your rights? What do you not know?
If you're unsure of the questions you should be asking yourself then websites such as Amicable and Citizen's Advice can help, or check out our article on the 10 questions to ask yourself before filing for divorce.
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