When parents decide to separate it can cause an emotional strain within a family, but most parents have difficulty finding the right kind of support from others who can empathize. During a divorce or separation can be an extremely isolating time in your life. And within these moments it is key to make sure you are speaking about how you feel and are getting the help you need from the right people and places.
This is also an equally confusing time for children, that is why it’s important for separated parents to work together to help their children through life’s obstacles.
Here are some places where parents can find the support that they need when going through a divorce:
Solicitor or Lawyer
If you and your spouse can’t agree on important points, you should consider hiring a legal expert. The solicitor or lawyer will act as a legal mediator and aid through your divorce, preventing you giving up any rights you have because you don’t understand the law. Some solicitors will offer initial advice for free, which in most cases is enough to assess whether you will need to enlist their help. On average a divorce can cost anything from £1200 to £1500, this excludes the cost of any extras like child support or spousal maintenance. Lawyers are expensive, so you should use their time wisely!
Child Support Agency
When children are involved in a divorce, the custodial parent is eligible to receive child support. This is often paid directly to the custodial parent, not directly to the child. Negotiating and agreeing on how much child support a parent is required to pay for a child is often a sensitive topic. The Child Support Agency is the government’s child maintenance service. It assesses and collects payments for children under 16 (and also under 19s in full-time education). If you and your partner are separated and your children are living with you, the CSA can be used to work out how much child maintenance should be paid by the father of the child, to collect the payments, and to take action if payments aren’t made.
Meet Up Groups
There are many divorce Meet Up groups to choose from across the country. These groups make it easier for those separated or divorced to meet other people locally who are coping with a divorce or separation. Meet up acts as a platform to host events, discussions and forums to help divorcees socialize with others in similar situations. You can check meetup.com to see if there are any divorce support groups in your area. If there isn’t a group in your area, you can start one. Various groups offer support for those going through a divorce, people who are working on rebuilding their lives, and also for those who are now single parents and hoping to date again.
Mediation and Forums
Ending a relationship or marriage is difficult no matter what the circumstances are. Forums provide a great outlet for you to offer a listening ear and also talk to others who may have been through divorce or separation. Theparentconnetion.org.uk offers an online mediation service after divorce or separation. Although the online forum is moderated by mediators you do have the freedom to express yourself in whichever way you choose. There website has been designed to support parents as they figure things out for themselves. Information is provided in the form of film clips, quizzes and video tutorials to help you understand the issues that may be affecting your parenting relationship.
It is also ideal to have a mediator who will work with both parents in order to come up with a win-win solution. Mediators are neutral third parties who are in place to help you agree on a variety of issues, including support payments, the division of property, or custody of and access to your children. You should review any agreement you reach during mediation with a lawyer.
Womansdivorce.com operates as an online forum and chat room where women can meet other women who understand their situations, to discuss, share and vent frustrations about divorced life. This platform helps you to transition through and beyond a divorce whilst having the support of a virtual community behind you.
DailyStrength.org is a free online platform with a string of support groups to help you more easily connect and interact with those embarking on the same path you.
Life or Divorce Coach Advice
One of the main reasons why divorce costs tend to escalate is due to emotions getting involved. Hiring a divorce or life coach can help to reduce costs of the proceedings. In addition to this, coaches specialise in giving you the resources, strategies, tips and techniques that you can use any time to make yourself feel better, boost confidence, help yourself move forward and navigate the emotional roller coaster of a divorce.
A coach can help you focus on sorting out your emotions, planning your future, organising yourself and ultimately helping you to work out what you want as opposed to making decisions based on what other people want or think. Opting for a divorce coach is a more cost effective way to deal with emotions than with lawyers who aren’t necessarily qualified to advise on other areas within your life.
Charities or Voluntary Help
Relationship issues, especially around divorce, are one of the top five issues people seek guidance from Citizens Advice. It runs as a charity offering free, confidential and impartial advice from trained volunteers. You can seek advice online, over the phone or in person at one of their 3,500 locations. Citizens Advice share tips for those considering or embarking on a divorce or legal separation. They highlight the important details which you should know, any rights you may have over your partner and also provide additional information on any grey areas in between.
Family Lives is also a UK-based charity which offers support specifically on families and parenting issues. Family Lives have dedicated teams who can advise on the legal and financial advice to help you cope and transition into this new stage of your life.
Gingerbread in another UK-based charity providing advice and practical support for single parents in particular. It acts as a community for those dealing with the same issues, and the helpline offers a range of practical support from how to change your child’s name to organising holidays, as well as all the essentials regarding benefits and contact with your ex-partner.
Counsellor or Therapist
Divorce is a life changing event, the emotional stress and sheer volume of legal and logistical issues that you will have to take on in this time can be overwhelming. Many couples seek marriage counselling in an effort to improve a troubled relationship and to prevent a divorce. However, if divorce is the inevitable outcome, pre- and post-divorce counselling from licensed psychologists or psychiatrists may help you and your partner navigate through the process.
It is important you allow yourself time to fully grieve the loss of the relationship, the companionship, the support, and any future plans you had together. On a one-to-one basis, it is the divorce therapist’s role to ultimately help you understand the stages of loss and grief, teach you the necessary coping skills to deal with the emotional burden of divorce, provide a forum for the entire family to receive support and to help you understand the reason the relationship failed and to prevent future relationships taking this same course.