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What to do after your divorce

Our People - Loretta Orsi-Barzanti
23 November, 2016

Divorces are trying and testing times even for the most patient amongst us and when that final divorce order arrives in the post you probably won’t know whether to laugh, cry, jump up and down for joy or curl up in bed and not leave for a week. Divorce is, of course, a form of finality (unless you do a Liz Taylor and marry the same person twice). Here’s some things to think about once your divorce comes through.

1. Do a will!

We’ll take the practical side of things first. Most married couples have wills leaving everything to the other. While re-marrying automatically revokes all prior wills, divorce does not. So, if you do have a will, make sure you revise it on your divorce because chances are; you divorced for a reason; and if (when) you die, you probably don’t want your ex getting it all, especially if you fought hard to keep it within financial proceedings. I’ll promise you now, you’ll be turning in your grave if it does happen.

2. Change your name

For the ladies amongst us who took their husband’s surname when you married, you may wish to revert to your maiden name on divorce (although you don’t strictly have to). Start with changing your passport and driving licence and then work your way to filling out the ridiculously long and boring forms at the bank/doctors/schools/benefits agency/employers etc. Make sure you have lots of copies of your Decree Absolute certificate because you just know each establishment will want to keep their very own copy.

3. Go on holiday / relax

Divorce is stressful so think about taking a holiday when it’s all done. It’s a great time to collect your thoughts and reflect. I’m not suggesting that you up-sucks and go to a desert island in the middle of nowhere or trek all the way up to a monastery where blind monks are crocheting tea-cosies to “find yourself” but a break where you can relax either with friends (or without) may do you the world of good.

4. Take up a hobby

A lot of people I spoke to said that they found themselves, bored, following their divorce. So what did they do… they took up hobbies – dancing, going to the gym, book club, boxing, knitting, etc. All great ways of meeting new people, trying new things and keeping busy.

5. Sort the finances

If there was a financial aspect to your divorce, there will be (hopefully!) a sealed order from court se????ng out exactly what was agreed. The first thing that you need to do is set about putting into place EVERY SINGLE ONE of those terms. If you don’t, you can bet your bottom dollar, your ex, or their solicitors is going to start sending narky emails about how they’re going to issue an [enter name of very special legal application] application at court and claim all their costs off you. Just avoid it.

6. Spend more time with friends

Spending ????me with friends is a brilliant way of getting your mind off things as well as being able to talk about exactly what it is you’re going through. They will offer much needed support at a time when you need it most. Hopefully, they’ll also try to talk you out of doing things like what’s mentioned at point 8!

7. Have a party

Some people like to spend ????me alone to get over something as life changing as a divorce. Other’s like to party. I cannot tell you how many “divorce parties” I’ve been invited to…! They are all in the name of fun and giving the divorcee a good send-off back into “single life”. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or vodka) but it will certainly help you let loose and forget about the stresses you have been though while dealing with your divorce.

8. Cut your ex’s face out of family pictures

Now, I don’t suggest that you ACTUALLY do this, but my colleague said that when her mother got divorced, her granny cut out her father’s face from all the family pictures. TRUE STORY. Therapy comes in all shapes and sizes, I suppose… and this may well be therapeutic for you. Just don’t run with the scissors.

Divorce is absolutely NOT the end, although it may feel like it. Look at it as the beginning of a new chapter in your life that is full of opportunity. Take all of those opportunities by the scruff of the neck and do what makes you happy!

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Head of Family (Private Law)
Loretta Orsi-Barzanti is an associate solicitor and head of our Private Family Team. She advises on all aspects of Public and Private Law.

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