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An interesting article in Psychology Today suggests it takes 12 – 24 months for most people to heal from a divorce. Whilst I won’t disagree with that what I think is equally important is the quality of professional advice you receive to make the break and move on, writes Louise Barretto, Head of our Family team.

Deciding on who you instruct to steer you through a difficult time and process is key to how you are able to move on with your life. You don’t want your solicitor to increase your stress levels but rather to help you manage them. Often, I see clients who initially selected their solicitor based on cost, only to find that in the long run the process has cost them more due to that solicitor’s approach. When these clients come to see me, they are sometimes in a worse position emotionally and financially then when their matter started. I always try to get to the bottom of what my client really wants, which is not necessarily the better financial outcome. They may wish to compromise a bit on the financial side of things to enable them to achieve finality sooner. It is important for the family solicitor to keep at the forefront of their mind what it is that the client wants to achieve, as this should inform every step of the process. Selecting your family solicitor is not simply about technical expertise, (although this is definitely an important factor), it is also about their ability to empathise and support you when you find things difficult.

The author contends that divorce involves different stages of recovery and the process takes time, whether or not you wanted the divorce.

The phases include the Acute ‘shock’ phase; Acceptance phase; Adjustment phase and Healing phase.

Unfortunately, according to the Gottman Research Institute, most couples go to marital counselling six years too late. For that reason, marital counselling often fails to save a marriage, although the counselling might help you divorce respectfully.

The researcher, Ann Gold Buscho, Ph.D, concludes: “Healing your heart (like all injuries) happens in stages over time. Like many wounds, this one will likely leave a scar.

“You will be changed by your experience. While scars are painful reminders of the past, you learn to live with them. Sometimes scars make you stronger.”

I certainly agree with the last sentence.

Certainly, when I see clients, the aggrieved party is the one you’d expect to take the longest time to heal. But that synchs with recognising healing from a divorce occurs in various stages. Nonetheless it reminds me of the classic scene from Friends, when Ross ‘adjusts’ to his divorces:

“First divorce: wife’s hidden sexuality, not my fault.

“Second divorce: said the wrong name at the alter, kind of my fault.

“Third divorce: they shouldn’t let you get married when you’re drunk and have stuff drawn over your face, Nevada’s fault.”

Our Family lawyers have the knowledge and experience to guide you through these challenging times. If you are affected by similar issues or would like to have a related discussion in confidence, please call me on 020 7091 2869 or email lbarretto@bishopandsewell.co.uk

The above is accurate as at 3 August 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Category: Blog | Date: 3rd Aug 2021


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