Are you sure that Divorce is the answer?

It’s said that the week 12-16th January is the busiest for divorce lawyers in the UK.

Did you make that appointment? Is there something holding you back?

Did you also know that 19th January 2015 is ‘Blue Monday’. The day when statistically, we are, as a nation, totally fed up!

The children are back to school, Dry January is proving more of a challenge than you initially thought it would be, when you agreed to it at 11:59pm on 31st December. The credit card bill has arrived and there’s just too much month left at the end of the money.

You don’t know what to do.

It’s tempting to think that a divorce might solve all your problems. Each of you going your separate ways. New Year, new start and all those other cliches.

Is that really what you want?

Consider these 5 steps before deciding that divorce is the answer.

 1.  If money is a worry, face it together

The post Christmas credit card bill drops through the letter box with a very loud thud. You’d convinced yourself that you hadn’t spent THAT much.

Caught up in the what seems like month long festivities, you enjoyed buying those extra little bits and pieces for your family. Now reality is biting and Blue Monday is really rather red actually. This bill could be the cause of an argument.

But wait.

Arguing about money now, isn’t going to solve them problem. Getting a divorce isn’t going to solve the problem either.  Sitting down together and looking at all your bills without blame, is the first step to resolving your debt issues. You can get free independent advice from The Money Advice Service or your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau but you have to be willing to take that first step.

 2.  Be honest with yourselves and each other

It might sound obvious, and it might sound easy; but are really honest with yourself and your partner? I don’t mean honest as in,you ask them to put the bins out and you really want them to do it. I mean, do you ask for what you want and need in your relationship and do you listen to what your partner wants and needs. Before you answer in your head “He or She should know what I want” or “Of course I listen”, just take a moment to think about that natural reaction. I invite you to consider whether its really true for you. None of us are mind readers. We have a responsibility to ask for what we need. If we are in a relationship, we also have a responsibility to listen.

 3.  Get professional relationship counselling

If you recognise that you are struggling to ask for what you need, or to hear what your partner is saying, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should get divorced. If both of you are willing to change things, you can access relationship counselling to support you. Organisations such as Relate can help you and your partner begin to communicate with one another again, and to help you work out what is best for you. You can also consider coaching if it’s only you that wants to discuss things. Coaching helps you get clear in your own mind what you want and the steps you can take to get there. It doesn’t matter that your partner doesn’t want to be involved.

 4.  Discuss getting a divorce together

If you decide that you do want to get divorced, try where possible to discuss this together. As challenging as this can be, it really will save you time and money in the long run. Sometimes only one of you wants a divorce, and that can make things more tricky. But here’s the thing.  When one partner feels the relationship is over.

It. Is. Over.

If you are the partner who doesn’t want a divorce, the best you can do is to get counselling or coaching to deal with that. Fighting a divorce is futile and very costly in the majority of cases.

 5.  Keep talking

Whether your relationship is over, or Blue Monday is just taking its toll, remember to keep talking. People are often surprised when I  tell them that being a good communicator takes practice, but its true.  We are born to communicate, but that doesn’t mean that we are good at it. I’ll talk about what it takes to be a good communicator in another post, suffice it to say you must keep talking, listening and responding to get through difficult times. It does get easier. Talking allows you to move through Blue Monday to brighter times.

Emma Heptonstall is a Family Mediator at York Family First in York UK. She can be contacted on 01904 697760 or by email mediator@yourfamilyfirst.co.uk