Divorce can be hugely impactful, both on the couple who are separating and any children they have. The divorce process can be long and trigger many feelings such as anger, fear and loneliness. These are likely to add the emotions that the couple already encountered in the lead up to their separation.
It’s understandable that all of these emotions can take their toll. Add to this protecting children from the fallout while trying to keep going at work as normal, and it can become too much.
If you’re going through a divorce and you’re looking for ways to keep all the plates spinning, read on. We offer some insights into how to take care of your personal and professional obligations while looking out for your own wellbeing too.
How long it takes
Although the number of petitions fell between 2021 and 2022, there was still over 30,000 couples who filed for divorce between January and March 2022. The number rose sharply in 2021 from 2020 and that was likely down to couples staying together during lockdown and through the pandemic.
One of the main points to consider is the length of the divorce process. It can take at least six months to complete. But it can be longer if it’s complicated by money or property issues, along with any issues surrounding children and how they’ll be cared for.
As is to be expected, the longer the process takes, the harder it can be to juggle the demands of everyday life. If you’re trying to maintain your professional life while going through a divorce, you’ll need the tools and tips to navigate this time in the workplace. Here are some main things to consider:
Protecting your children
If you have children, you’ll already be putting their needs first. But it’s important that you look out for your child’s stress-related behaviours during this process. Try to keep track of any circumstances surrounding your divorce that can make your kids feel stressed.
Following a divorce, making plans for your kids can be challenging and emotionally taxing. A specialist divorce solicitor can help parents provide solutions and make the process as harmonious for both you, your ex-partner and your children.
It’s also important to know where you stand in terms of your children and your job. An employer can be impacted by a child custody battle that their employee might be going through. They might have to account for absenteeism, work out time off needed by their employee for court appearances, and offer reduced work hours for the divorcing parties.
This can all add to the pressure you might be feeling as an employee. To alleviate this, try to let your manager know as soon as possible if you’ll be in court and try to arrange any time off you need as early as possible.
Employees may be eligible to take compensated parental leave. Up until their 18th birthday, they are entitled to 18 weeks of leave for each biological child and adoptive child. There are guidelines for who may use this leave and how it should be taken. For instance, the leave must be used in blocks of one week and you must have worked for your employer for a full year.
Depending on their contract or the employer’s policies, employees may be able to negotiate additional paid or unpaid leave in addition to their statutory obligations. Employees should be able to easily explore these options with the employer in a comfortable work atmosphere and this could help to alleviate issues around court appearances.
Find support outside of work
It can be helpful to share your feelings and thoughts with your loved ones, friends, neighbours, and anyone else you trust.
If possible, it might be worth leaning on these people you trust to have the kids over for a playdate with their own children so that you can regroup. By sharing the load, it can help to reduce stress and not leave you feeling like you have to do everything. Plus, by getting help from friends with childcare, you might be able to finish up some work that you might have missed due to having to dash off for the school run.