I am sure many of you reading this post will be pleased to see the back of 2020 and hoping that 2021 will see your lives improve, lockdowns becoming a thing of the past and Covid-19 beginning to be taken under control, with the roll out of the much debated vaccine.
2021 will see the long-awaited no-fault divorce law come into effect. This will allow people to get divorced without having to wait five years (or two years with consent) or by blaming your ex-spouse in court documents, which can cause unnecessary stress and upset at an already difficult time.
But what can you do in 2021 if you are either stuck in a marriage or relationship that is making you unhappy or, even worse, is abusive? What can you do if your partner is unhappy and wants to end a relationship that you are still happy in? What can you do if you are embroiled in never ending arguments and disputes about your children, property or finances?
The New Year is a time when many people make resolutions and re-assess their lives. Having witnessed my parents get a divorce, and helping numerous people through the process, I have seen the best and the worst in people going through this difficult time. But I do know that it is possible to reset the clock and look at your dispute from a new perspective. And there is no better time to do that with the start of a New Year.
IT’S YOUR CHOICE TO DIVORCE OR SEPARATE
The first thing to accept is that, unless you were forced into an arranged marriage, you chose to be in the relationship and chose to get married. It can genuinely help to take ownership of the fact that you are in this situation by your own choices. It may well be that the person you married has changed beyond recognition, or has been abusive to you, or unfaithful – but you made the decision to be in this relationship. And, just as you made the decision to be in the relationship in the first place, you can also make the decision not to be.
If you think there is a chance that the marriage or relationship is recoverable, then you owe it to yourself, your partner and your wider family to fully explore that as an option. Even if you cannot rescue the relationship, it can help you agree that there is no future in your relationships and set the tone for an amicable separation – which is especially important when you have children together.
If you are certain that there is no future for your relationship, then you need to take positive action to address it. More than 4 in 10 marriages end in divorce. You are not alone in this situation. Many people see divorce as a sign of failure, a big negative in their lives and carry a huge amount of guilt that it will impact negatively on their children, their friends and their family.
We believe divorce to be something that can be seen as a positive step in your life. You are taking huge action to remove yourself from a situation that is making you unhappy and freeing up your partner to be in a future relationship with someone who is desperate to be with them – not wanting to be away from them.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
If you have children, you are showing them that it is not ok to put up with the mediocre. If you are in an abusive relationship, you are showing them that is never ok to put up with abuse. Many studies have shown that it is not the act of divorce itself that can have a negative impact on the children, after all over 40% of their class are likely to have parents who are separated, it is the manner in which you divorce that can impact adversely on their wellbeing. Arguments in front of the children, making disparaging comments about your ex to the children or asking them to convey messages between you both are all likely to have an impact on their mental wellbeing.
Conversely, an amicable separation, where the children are prioritised in each and every action – where they can see you working together as parents even though you are no longer living together will have a significant beneficial impact on the children and help show them a positive way for their own relationships in the future.
SHOULD I DIVORCE IN 2021?
Divorce need not be a bad thing. It is a chance to set your life back on track. To be free of someone who does not add value to your life and you to theirs. To do a hundred and one things that you would never have done if you were still in an unhappy or abusive relationship. It is a chance to better yourself as a person and become a more rounded human and a happier, better parent. Even if you cannot see it now, your divorce may well be the best thing that could happen for you.
What is stopping you finding your future in 2021?
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