Divorce is a game of two halves but not of equal lengths. It is often hard to know when the first part actually starts. It creeps up upon you like a thief in the night.
The first half
The first half is the slow dawning that the relationship is not going well and is probably getting worse. A vague unease that grows into a conviction that divorce is the only solution. This can take place over a long time and for the very unfortunate few it can begin shortly after the wedding and often lasts for years.
The second half
The second half of the divorce process begins after the pivotal announcement: "I want a divorce." This can be long expected or come completely out of the blue. This changes everything and launches you both into an entirely different situation. For many people this is the point at which both parties head for their local friendly solicitor and start to shell out serious cash for a shiny lawyer to fight their corner in the finest adversarial traditions of the British legal system. In the end this may be the only way that your relationship problems can be resolved. Divorce may be the best answer for both of you (and even the best for the children).
Where to spend the time, money and effort
However, the key is to spend most of your energies on the bit before the fateful declaration. If you spend time trying to resolve the relationship before you are staring divorce in the face then the chances of success are considerably greater. You will almost certainly need help. The best help is professional, objective and caring.
Get help, try Relate
There are many sources of help, perhaps the most well known is Relate. They offer advice, relationship counselling, sex therapy, workshops, mediation, consultations and support face-to-face, by phone and through their website. That's a whole lot of help delivered by people who have a great deal of experience and really care about helping you resolve your difficulties whether that be through continuing the marriage or through a divorce.
Spend as much time as you can in an honest attempt to explore all the possibilities of making your relationship work and create genuine happiness. If your best efforts do not result in a real and lasting mending of the relationship then go for a divorce quietly and quickly.
The best way to go about the divorce
Be nice to each other, use sympathetic solicitors and most importantly don't fight over every last detail. If you can agree the broad arrangements for the children and the money by talking and negotiating gently, then a bit of give and take on the detail will give you a quicker, cheaper and better divorce.
If you follow this advice (or just some of it!) the trauma will be less and your life after divorce will be better.