While researching my novel, ‘The Diary of a Divorce’ I was struck by the common terrors of not knowing what your rights are; bewilderment as to how to find a lawyer; and the sense of isolation when ditching or being dumped.

The Diary of a Divorce

The Diary of a Divorce

Fearful, rudderless and at sea you need not be. You have rights and there is a wealth of information online. The Legal 500 lists the best lawyers- matrimonial or otherwise- and you are most emphatically not alone. If you cannot face sharing the often bitter details of your divorce story with anyone you know, there is a wealth of support online. Mumsnet.com is excellent, full of compassionate and even practical guidance.

There are two main battles, the first is financial, what will you get and where will you (and the children) live? (See the Housing Act for reassurance if really pressed). The second- and often the most bloody- is ‘child access.’

Access can get ugly when men, unfortunately it is often men, assert their ‘rights’ without regard to the welfare of the children, who can then become weapons used to frighten women into agreeing to lousy financial settlements. Male behaviour can be depressingly formulaic on this front and then the lawyers might wade in with their ‘chore’ days-medical appointments etc… exacerbating the warfare and complicate access agreements thereby racking up their fees (never forget lawyers work on an hourly rate so as long as the battle rages on, they stand to gain).

But…there is a standard formula to access arrangements; one night a week, every other weekend and half the holidays. If both parents are of sound mind there is no reason to think that the authorities will waver from this, no matter how adamantly your ex asserts your insanity (every woman I encountered was accused of lunacy!).

If you can, get a lawyer but beware…financial sharks abound in divorce waters! One woman I met had been advised by a savvy friend to take a wad of £500.00 in £50.00 notes and toss them one by one out of the window the next time she spoke to her lawyer. She soon learned to call her lawyer less. Single women are advised to choose a ‘birthing partner’ in lieu of a man and a ‘divorcing partner’ might provide the empathy, and emotional support you need, enable you to leave the lawyers to their legal drafting and you to bank the cash you will save!

Find a distraction during the process, join a book club, support a lonely elderly person (you too will feel less lonely and valued) or as one did, go on a singles swimming holiday; “a complete mix of people, lawyers, teachers, make up artists, you name it, whose only obvious bond was a love of immersing themselves in the sea. It was great!”

Having listened to many courageous and moving stories, I suggest that neither revenge nor justice serve to soothe. Acceptance is the key to moving forward and believing you deserve to be loved again. It will end…faster if you put any regret or bitterness down to a bad choice but a good lesson.

Hang on to tomorrow, it will be worth it and…

Never give up!

About the author

Isolde is a journalist, who has spent a decade listening to divorce stories. Her novel The Diary of a Divorce is a fictionalised compilation of her findings, painting a vivid picture of each step in this painful process through the contrasting viewpoints of a mother and her child. The reader is offered a tantalising glimpse of a magnificent love affair before the book abruptly ends, leaving the reader to ponder the hopeful, even passionate, possibilities of life after divorce. Isolde can be found on Twitter @isoldefiction and Instagram @isoldefiction.