Georgia and her husband had one young child and had had a relatively short marriage at the time of their divorce. Georgia was the main breadwinner in the family.
What I wish I had known:
Many of my answers to this revolve around the need to have better managed my hopes and expectations.
Your spouse may well say some of the things you want to hear at the start of the process (possibly to give you a false sense of security and to keep you sweet) but as the screw tightens their personality will be tested to its limit and their worst attributes may well come to the fore.
Try not to anticipate what these behaviours might be….instead take each day as it comes and be prepared to feel vulnerable.
Don’t expect that your spouse will be ‘decent’ and ‘do the right thing’ by you and your child whatever they may say.
Don’t be wedded to the apparent circumstances and ideals that you might have in your mind at the start. It is highly likely that they will change as information (truthful or otherwise) comes to light. So be prepared for greater changes to your outcome than you can anticipate and know that you are bound to have to compromise well beyond what you feel is reasonable at the start of the process.
I wasn’t aware that I’d need to develop a truly thick skin and develop an ability to be weatherproof to the lightning strikes that would emanate from my spouse’s transformed and highly volatile personality.
At all times keep your thinking independent and single minded with your focus on the truth and what you know is best for your child.
Anticipate that the low phases will feel dark and you may feel utterly powerless, but with the steadfast help of your solicitor (who will help steer you though seemingly impossibly times) have faith that you will emerge from it all feeling lighter and more at peace.
The costs will keep mounting – there is no getting away from it and so be prepared for it, especially if your partner is obstructive in one way or another. This is par for the course and can’t be easily anticipated. Being realistic about this at the start would have helped mitigate my constant anxiety about the costs. The costs helped secure the peace I felt afterwards.
The low point:
The preparation for and anticipation of having a meeting with a barrister and my solicitor to get the most realistic view of a likely outcome were we to go to court. My worst fears were acknowledged yet there was a tangible sense of relief despite the awfulness of the situation simply because the continual uncertainty had been abruptly confronted and halted and an end point was in sight.
The certainty that I did the right thing:
Working with a solicitor who understands the nuances of your case helps you feel supported in an otherwise wilderness period of your life. I simply couldn’t have navigated the process without their help and guidance.
The ability to move on psychologically is hugely important. During (and prior to) the divorce process everything felt on hold…Having gone through it, I can breathe again and look forward again knowing I am independent of a husband who drained everything from me.
What I would do differently:
Don’t delay – I wish I’d started the process of divorce sooner after my initial meeting with my solicitor.
I wish I hadn’t latched on to the financial projection I had been given early on only to be repeatedly disappointed as financial details were laid bare and the amount my husband demanded from me increased repeatedly and was then granted.
Seek a barrister’s opinion sooner to help manage my expectations.