Everyone knows that divorce is a huge step to take. It usually follows an intensely difficult period in two people’s lives. They haven’t been getting along. Perhaps there’s been infidelity. They may simply have fallen out of love.
Whatever the reason for beginning the divorce process, it’s always entered into with a view to drawing a line under the relationship; to moving on, separately. But occasionally things don’t pan out quite like that.
For some couples, the process of undoing the ties that bound them together can spark emotions they didn’t anticipate when they decided to divorce. Some people begin to see their partner in a new and attractive light (although I must say the opposite is far more common). Some begin to mourn what they once had. Some realise that they still have strong feelings for each other. Some come to believe that the benefits of staying together outweigh the negatives of divorcing.
The danger is that people who are having second thoughts are afraid to say so. They feel they’re on a track that they can’t get off. They’ve uttered the words ‘I don’t love you anymore’. They’ve told friends and family, instructed solicitors, started to make plans. And the prospect of putting the brakes on may seem impossible.
If this is you, my advice is to speak up. Whatever stage of the process you have reached, if you think you may be doing the wrong thing, it’s best to make that known. There’s obviously a chance that your partner will disagree and will be keen to continue with the divorce. But what if they don’t?
Obviously the further down the line things have got, the more you will have invested emotionally and financially in the divorce. That may seem a reason to keep on going. However, that investment will not necessarily be wasted. There is nothing to say you can’t press pause and explore the possibility of getting back with your ex. I have advised a few clients over the years who have decided to do that, with the help of a counsellor. Some succeeded in rekindling their relationship, others didn’t. The question is: if you don’t give it a go, will you look back and wish you had?
As Family Law solicitors, we’re programmed to act in clients’ best interests and to find the right outcomes for them. We’re also pretty well attuned to the dynamics of a situation, and may even see before you do that divorce mightn’t be the best way forward. I’ll always speak to clients about any doubts they may be having. Because pressing on with a divorce without being fully committed to it is rarely the right way to go.
So please bear this in mind. Having people around you to talk to openly and honestly is so important. And I include Family Law solicitors like me in that. Trust me, any lawyer worth their salt would far prefer to have a happy client who had changed their mind about their divorce than one who pressed on because they felt they had no other option.