Self care during a divorce

16Oct2019

Going through a divorce can be a particularly difficult and trying time. Although expert legal advice can offer guidance and support with the legal jargon, paperwork and proceedings, what other assistance is available to a family in helping them cope with the challenges of divorce?

Divorce can seem all consuming, with it taking over your entire life. Keeping in control is, however, possible, and the following tips can help you keep on track.

Therapy

Divorce proceedings can give rise to a whole host of feelings and emotions. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with your friends and family may be helpful, but you may also wish to consider speaking with a professional, such as a therapist or psychologist, to help process your current situation and your thoughts and feelings on the matter. Therapists and / or psychologists may also provide you with tools and mechanisms to cope with the challenges your divorce may present.

Children’s Therapy

Children can also be affected by divorce, and like their parents, they too can experience difficulties in adjusting to and understanding, new family dynamics. Although you may have a very good relationship with your children, some children do not feel comfortable speaking to their parents about their feelings or even know how to express them, therefore the help of a professional may be beneficial for them also.

Child therapists and psychologists are specifically trained to work with children, with some specialising in particular methods of therapy, such as play therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. Very often a child therapist / psychologist will be specifically trained to work with a particular age group such as young children or adolescents.

Friends and Family

Building a network of support is important. Friends and family can offer you good support, as well as certain people in the workforce. Your conversations with your employer or colleagues should, however, be very different to those with friends. Any conversations in the workplace should be factual, and any private, intimate or sensitive aspects of your divorce is best kept to your therapist or close friends and family.

Although choosing the right lawyer is contingent on personal preference, finding a lawyer that builds on your support network can be particularly helpful. The right lawyer should make you feel at ease, help explain the proceedings to you, and provide you with various options to explore for a solution tailored to your needs.

Find out more about our Family and Private Client practice.

Parenting Coordinators

Parent coordinators are trained professionals offering assistance and advice to separated or divorced parents. Their aim is to bring parents together to effectively co-parent the children of the family. The role of a parent coordinator is to help parents stay child-focused whilst making decisions in respect of the family and/or implementing Court orders.

The idea of parent coordinators was first developed in the USA, but has since become very popular in Hong Kong. Although the use of a parent coordinator does not necessarily mean that the assistance of the Court is no longer required, it can give parents the right tools to effectively co-parent and put the family on the right trajectory.

Read about our trained Parenting Coordinator, Joanne Brown.

Time Management

Preparing for divorce proceedings can be time consuming, and at times you will be required to prepare various Court documentation with the help of your lawyer. This can be managed effectively if your instructions are clear and to the point. If, at every juncture, every issue is litigated, this will undoubtedly result in having to devote more of your time to the legal proceedings. Instructions should not be fragmented and as a practice you should try and give your lawyer instructions in one go rather than on a piecemeal basis. This will not only save time, but will, in turn, reduce legal costs.

Setting aside some time during the working day to deal with any queries that your lawyer may have is a good way to effectively manage your time. Very often, documents are required to be filed with the Court that day at no later than 4 p.m., therefore, any delayed response may result in missing important deadlines.

Keeping a “to do list” is a good way of keeping on top of matters, as is the exercise of making a list of questions and/or instructions for your lawyer that you may address in one telephone call and/or meeting with them.

Exercise

Taking time out to exercise and eat well is important. It is widely reported that a well-balanced diet and exercise is an important part of maintaining good health, feeling good, and can improve memory, attention and motivation. In addition to this, whether you are taking up a new sport or picking up an old activity, you may find that you embrace a new found independence and get to meet and make a whole new circle of friends.

Meditation

Meditation and mindfulness seem to be the latest buzzwords, however, it appears that much can be said for the increased interest in meditation, with many documenting their discovery of its benefits. Meditation is said to reduce stress, improve sleep, enhance your self-awareness and assist with anxiety.

The method of meditation, including mindfulness and Zen, is used to focus the mind either through thought or activity to develop a sense of clarity, awareness, positivity and calm of self being. Its practice has been used for hundreds of years, traditionally in Eastern cultures, although recently, there has been a huge growth in its practice in Western culture. Meditation’s growing popularity is evident in Hong Kong, with many new meditation centres opening across the city.

Yoga

Like meditation, yoga is said to increase your ability to focus on the present and encourage relaxation and a sense of calm. Although many think of yoga as a physical practice, the practice of yoga does in fact, include physical, mental and spiritual exercises. There are many disciplines of yoga to choose from, with many yoga studios in Hong Kong offering a variety of classes and courses in these different practices.

Lydia Pilati