Surviving and prospering after divorce in the 21st century

Divorce, like everything else, is changing fast as we rush through the decade ever deeper into the 21st century.

Changes in attitudes towards relationships and an evolving equality between the sexes have given rise to three distinct trends in the ancient practice of telling your partner that you've had enough and you want out.

The pace is being set by couples over 50, most of whom have been in a partnership for over twenty years.  They represent the biggest rise in divorces.  The children have left home, love has lost its lustre and time is running out if you want to start a new life.  These are the sad facts of middle aged divorce.

quote_from_thoreau.jpgIt's never too late to divorce
A late divorce has its own special difficulties.  However, there is one aspect of divorce that is usually no longer relevant and that's the whole absolutely vital co-parenting, residency and access for the children thing.  They have mostly left home and can only watch on the side lines as their parent's relationship disintegrates into bits.

This is a most distressing spectacle which can also have profound effects upon the children.  The two people who were the most loved and trusted are now at war with each other and taking no prisoners.  These late divorcers and divorcees have less time to repair and renew their lives but it can be done, so don't panic.

A big mistake soon realised
Short marriages are also an increasing feature of 21st century divorce.  In many engaged couples at least one of them says they realised that they were about to do something they really did not want to do.

The wedding had picked up an unstoppable emotional momentum of its own which drowned out the siren voices of emotional reality practicality and pragmatic reason.  An early divorce seemed to be the only way to go despite the fact that good relationship counselling could possibly have avoided this.

If you divorce under thirty there is plenty of time to get back on track, rebuild your life and reconstruct your finances after what is often a traumatic crash in economic wellbeing for both of you.  The later the divorce the more difficult it will be to achieve a good and satisfying life after divorce.

Women want to do it even more than men
Divorce initiated by women has been rising steadily for many years.  Perhaps the biggest cause of this has been the increasing economic strength (and hence independence) of women.  That's a good thing but right now the number is nearly 70% of all divorces.  Women, rightly or wrongly, seem to expect more from their men and if they don't get it they feel increasingly able to say "Thank you and goodbye."  An abandoned man is no less of a pretty site than an abandoned woman.

Whatever the divorce you have experienced or are experiencing then there are two distinct areas of problems/opportunities that are fundamental to the quality of your life after divorce.

Getting the material life back and on course
Most people cannot afford to get divorced.  Apart from the actual legal cost of the divorce process there is the unmissable fact that your financial resources are no longer shared but halved (if you are lucky).  Taking the divorce process first, this is never going to be cheap but the costs can be under your control if you get the right divorce lawyer and work with him or her in an efficient and cost effective way.

The next bit is to secure a fair and just settlement of the material assets and resources of the marriage.  This requires a good lawyer and a financial adviser who has experience and knowledge of divorce and post-divorce finances.  It's a bit of a minefield and you really do need to know the way through it.  Professional guidance in divorce finance is the only way to achieve a fair and just outcome which will also help to build the foundation for a good and successful life after divorce.

What about a social life
Divorce often does great damage to your material wellbeing.  It also devastates your family life and seriously disrupts your friends and social life.  There is often a temptation to rush back in to finding a new partner.  This is almost certainly a bad idea.  It's not a good time to be trying to create a new relationship.  Pull back, give yourself time and get on with all the other stuff in your new life that needs to be sorted.

Singledom for now or forever is becoming increasingly OK and respected as a legitimate lifestyle choice.  If you really feel that now is a good time to look for another relationship then take it slowly and carefully.


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