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Kerry Smith Head of Family Law at K J Smith

Christmas is a stressful time of year for everyone, even more so for divorcees who may be spending the holidays alone for the first time in their lives.

Despite the stress and strain of the festive period, Christmas is ultimately about spending time with loved ones and spreading festive cheer (and the food, of course).

But some aren’t fortunate enough to be surrounded by their nearest and dearest, and for newly divorced couples it can often be a hard reality to face.

With this in mind, let’s look at 4 top tips that will help every divorcee survive the Christmas period.

Don’t Spend Christmas Alone

At the top of the list for obvious reasons, it is important that you don’t spend the holidays alone. You should make the effort to surround yourself with family and friends who care about you.

Understandably, you may be not be feeling very cheery after the breakdown of your marriage, but surrounding yourself with family and friends that care about you will go a long way in lifting your spirits.

Even if visiting your loved ones on Christmas Day isn’t practical, you should still make the effort to see family and friends. You could get in touch with old school friends and arrange a reunion or simply catch up with a trusted family member and talk to them about how you’re dealing with divorce.

Simply put, try not to isolate yourself at Christmas. Just because you’re facing a tough time it doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty for letting loose and embracing single life again.

Be Patient

If this is your first Christmas alone post-divorce, then festivities can often feel overwhelming. The stress of your divorce paired with general Christmas madness can leave you screaming into the abyss, but having a little patience (both with yourself and those around you) can make the world of difference.

If you feel as if your emotions are building up and up and up, ready to explode at any minute, then taking time out to focus on your wellbeing is an absolute must. It can be difficult to come to terms with your relationship breakdown and seeing other couples happy at Christmas sometimes heightens these emotions.

Remove yourself from the situations making you unhappy, go into an unoccupied and quiet room, take time to breathe and calm yourself down.

Meditation has also proven helpful when dealing with trauma and meditation techniques can help to promote serenity. Being patient with yourself rather than letting your emotions get the better of you can save you a lot of regret and stress in the future.

Make New Traditions

With marriage often comes children, and divorce will play a huge part in how Christmas traditions change for them once their parents separate. Of course some things will change as a result of your divorce, but making the most of a bad situation for the sake of your children is in everyone’s best interests.

You can introduce some new fun festive traditions for your children such as two different Christmas Days, one with mum and one with dad.You should also communicate with your ex-partner and come to an agreement regarding who the children spend Christmas with.

Above all, you should put the needs of your children before your own. You may desperately want to spend Christmas day with them but arguing with your ex-partner about custody rights could upset your children and ruin the magical season. You should try to compromise, and if you can’t see your children until a few days after Christmas, try and make the time spent together as special as possible.

Help those Less Fortunate

As a divorcee you can feel like the most unfortunate person in the world, and whilst your sadness at this difficult time is completely justified, it can often help to put things in perspective by helping those less fortunate than yourself.

Christmas is supposed to be about spreading cheer and love, and what better way to do that than to volunteer throughout the festive period. If you find yourself alone this Christmas, then creating new traditions and helping those in need is a great way to make the most of the holiday season.

Volunteering at Christmas time is a win-win – you get to help those less fortunate and at the same time distract yourself from your own troubling personal circumstances by surrounding yourself with new and like-minded friends.

Now that’s a lot to take in, especially when your head has been left spinning thanks to divorce proceedings and frantic Christmas planning – so instead of overwhelming yourself, why not try to bear in mind one or two top tips throughout the festive season. And you never know, a change in tradition could be the best thing that’s happened to you!

Click here for more articles by Kerry Smith

ABOUT KERRY

Kerry Smith is the head of family law at K J Smith Solicitors, a specialist family law firm who deal with a wide range of issues including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships and prenuptial agreements.

The post Tips for Surviving Divorce Over the Christmas Period appeared first on The Divorce Magazine - TDM.

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Andrew Robotham
Family Lawyer with
Woolley & Co

As a family lawyer one question I have been asked many times over the years is ‘can I deal with the divorce proceedings myself?’

The answer to this question is of course yes.

Anyone who has sufficient time, a brief background of the process and an ability to complete forms accurately could complete their own divorce petition and lodge the proceedings with the court.

However, this is not as simple a process as many people make out.

I have found through years of practice that I have very often been contacted by parties who have issued divorce proceedings only to find them rejected by the court due to some error being made on the paperwork and then not having a clue how to deal with matters thereafter.

At Woolley & Co our lawyers collectively have over 340 years’ worth of experience, which means we can offer a fixed price for the work to complete all the divorce paperwork meaning clients know exactly what they would pay through to Decree Absolute if the divorce itself is not defended.

Getting divorce paperwork right first time

What parties fail to realise is that the courts very strict in relation to how the paperwork is completed.

If there is an error in relation to what is detailed on the marriage certificate or if there is an error or insufficient detail in relation to what the particulars are regarding the reason why the marriage has broken down then the court can simply reject the divorce petition.

A District Judge must consider the petition and if it is considered that the grounds for divorce noted within that petition are insufficient then the petition can be thrown back and rejected in its entirety.

Just to make matters worse, the latest development has been a complete change in the format and lay out of the divorce petition itself. It is safe to say that none of us like change but change has to happen.

DIY divorce could be a false economy

The latest version of the divorce forms are designed to enable people to be able to issue those proceedings themselves and effectively simplify the process.

However, the basic details and the basic information that is required for the Judge to consider whether a marriage has irretrievably broken down is exactly the same.

Whilst the forms may appear to be somewhat simpler they are still complicated in as much as they request a lot of detail and need to be completed in the way expected by the court if the court is to allow the process to progress.

Dealing with financial claims in the divorce process

As well as justifying a reason for the breakdown of the marriage which must be proven in every divorce case it is also necessary within the divorce petition to put forward all your initial financial claims within the marriage.

Whilst this is separate process from a legal perspective it is inextricably linked to the divorce itself.

The question is therefore if you do not include all your financial claims at the outset what difficulties may this pose for you later in proceedings?

DIY divorce could be a false economy

We are all short of time in what is a busy world and we are all looking to cut costs wherever possible to make life easier.

Whether the new divorce petition makes life easier and whether it is worth the risk of lodging the paperwork incorrectly and finding your petition rejected is something for you to consider.

And perhaps more importantly are you willing to risk the change that you have not made the appropriate financial claims and therefore lose out on what you might legitimately be entitled to?

I’m all in favour of simplifying the law, for clients and for us as family lawyers, but I do think it’s very important to understand the legal implications of decisions you make when you divorce, especially when it comes to agreeing a financial settlement.

And although all of us who’ve worked in the family law arena for years might think the forms and terminology is straight-forward to the public it really isn’t. So, do take advice and get help from an experienced family lawyer.

Click here for more articles by Woolley & Co solicitors About Andrew Robotham

Article written by Andrew Robotham family lawyer with Woolley & Co, Solicitors.

Andy advises on all aspects of divorce, separation and family law and is highly regarded by clients and fellow professionals alike. You can reach Andy on 01332 413109.

Article first published on the Woolley & Co, Solicitors website here – Doing your own divorce – Can I go it alone.

The post Going through Divorce without a Lawyer appeared first on The Divorce Magazine - TDM.

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Tamara Glanvill
Divorce & family Law Solicitor
Woolley & Co Solicitors

A new guide to help parents talk to their teenagers about divorce has been pulled together by a pioneering charity and a family law specialist.

Woolley & Co has helped fund the project with Voices in the Middle, part of The Family Initiative charity, and joined with a group of young volunteers to look at what is important to them to know in the event of parents splitting up and how the topics should be approached.

These words of wisdom have then been captured in a free guide for parents about how to approach the difficult topic in the best way for all concerned to help them cope and move forward.

Andrew Woolley, Managing Partner at Woolley & Co, Solicitors, which has more than 20 partner-levels lawyers across England and Wales, said: “The work done by Voices in the Middle is really important and we were keen to help them expand the offering to support young people and parents going through divorce.

“It was a revealing process speaking with the youngsters about the things that were most important to them and how these topics could be, or should be, approached by their mum and dad.

“What we hope we have pulled together is a really practical guide to help families going through a difficult time and to make it just that little bit easier to cope with.

The Young People’s Steering group including Woolley & Co Solicitor Tamara Glanvill (back row 3rd from left) who worked on the conversation guides.

“As a responsible law firm, we are always striving to look past the legal services we offer and just do that bit extra to add value and help people. It is the right thing to do.”

The guide includes useful questions to ask, how to plan the conversation and lots of advice created by young people who have been through their parents’ separation.

Alice Piggott, one of the young volunteers involved, said: “Although stopping divorce is most likely not going to happen, the young person in the middle can be dealt with better.

“As young people ourselves, we feel inspired to make a difference in such a relevant and important situation as divorce, as so many young people are facing it alone today.

“Having a resource that parents can turn to, will help guide them in supporting their children with an understanding of the child’s perspective.”

Voices in the Middle is a project which delivers family services and programmes across health, young people, relationships and parenting.

To find out more about Voices in the Middle, visit https://www.voicesinthemiddle.com

About Tamara

Tamara is a divorce and family law solicitor with Woolley & Co based near Bedford covering Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

She has a wealth of experience in all aspects of family law, having qualified as a solicitor in 1995 and practiced exclusively in this area since then.

Tamara is also trained in collaborative law – a process where the solicitor guides and supports separating couples through a series of meetings to find their own solutions to the complexities of divorce.

Tamara has been named as a Leading Individual for Family Law in East Anglia in Legal 500 since 2014. They say: “Excellent family lawyer Tamara Glanvill is known for her knowledge, good judgment and reasoned advice”.

Tamara is a confident, experienced and able Court advocate, with experience up to the Court of Appeal.

Main Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

The post Lawyers work with teens to help families through divorce appeared first on The Divorce Magazine - TDM.

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Linda Simpson
Divorce and Parenting Consultant
Writer and Speaker

I’ve been divorced for 30 years. My X husband showed up in my life recently. We’ve been estranged all this time. We have not spoken in almost two decades. Our kids accept that Mom and Dad do not attend family gatherings together. We’ve always worked it out to be at anything at different times. All that changed a few months ago when we ended up at a gathering together. We got along really well. The years slipped away, and all the bad memories with it. We’ve been secretly seeing each other since then. Our kids do not know anything about our dates. We are in our 70’s and are both single. Are we crazy?

Linda says

These longer lives we are living provide opportunity for all sorts of crazy things to happen in families—good and bad.

This looks like it might be good. However, the secrecy is not a good start for your kids. A few dates to see if there was more to it than just a good time together at one social gathering are certainly acceptable. But after a few months it is time to be honest with your family.

Be prepared for judgements. Much of it will be based on fear because they will worry that one or both of you will get hurt as a result of this new arrangement. Your kids were there for all the nasty bits that happened when you divorced. They will not have any inclination to see those hurtful times repeated.

Tread carefully and go reasonably slowly. Being the age you are does not allow for a long courtship but taking your time about decisions is really the best option.

You don’t offer what your plans are for the future but a good starting point is to go to family gatherings together. Let everyone get used to the fact you are friendly again.

We are in our 70’s and are both single. Are we crazy?

Try not to push this new arrangement on everyone. Ask them if they are OK with coming to these family events together. If you do go together, try to be as natural as possible and let everyone get used to this new togetherness at their own speed.

You do have age and experience on your side in the sense that you both know exactly what you want for this stage of life. Think carefully about how you want this chapter to unfold. Honesty on both sides is very important.

Also be mindful of the fact that you both have most likely changed over the years. But the core attraction that existed at the beginning is still there if you are dating again and enjoying each other’s company.

Eventually moving in together may be an option but it may not if one or both of you have got used to independence. Make sure that you both are very clear with each other about expectations.

The really positive aspect of this stage of life is that it can be shaped anyway we want as long as it is acceptable to both sides. If you do want to live together then there are financial considerations. You have been apart for a long time. How you work out shared finances is yet another question to be answered. How much financial independence are you willing to give up?

Maybe you want to live apart but be exclusive to each other. Maybe you would consider two flats in the same building or going to the same retirement community. There are any number of ways a future could unfold. Often we are more open to living arrangements that may not appear so conventional to our children. They might view it as an all or nothing resolution, a return to the past.

Open discussion as a family is the best way to find a resolution. However, do what feels best for the two of you at this stage of life. The fact both of you would appear to have solid relationships with your children is very positive.

After your children, what other people think of your decision doesn’t really matter. That is one advantage to age.  Life and happiness are fleeting. Carpe Diem!

If you are in need of a place to seek some advice on a way forward during separation and divorce please write to letterstolinda@thedivorcemagazine.co.uk –  Reaching out is the first step. 

MORE LETTERS TO LINDA 

Letters to Linda Disclaimer

ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON

“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl 

Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.

As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.

She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.

She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’

In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.

She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.

She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.

Photo by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash

The post Letters to Linda – We are in our 70’s and are both single. Are we crazy? appeared first on The Divorce Magazine - TDM.

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