Professional lawyer-mediator and collaborative lawyer RAJAN CHETTIAR talks about plucking up the courage to move forward with divorce proceedings.

There are numerous reasons why a marriage fails. The most common is a lack of communication, which over time can slowly tear people apart. When a marriage does break down, the estranged husband and wife may find it difficult to acknowledge this fact. The questions that arise seem endless and without answers: ‘Why did this happen to me?’ ‘How am I going to live the rest of my life?’ ‘What is going to happen to our children?’ ‘Will I have enough money for the future?’ The estranged parties are often in emotional turmoil, filled with hurt, loss, a sense of betrayal, anger and confusion, and the initial visit to a lawyer’s office can leave them undecided as to what course of action they should take.

When a client comes to me for help, I acknowledge that they are experiencing a very sad event in their life, but that life is short and they have essentially two choices: continue to suffer emotionally or move on with life. Once a marriage becomes empty, and reconciliation has failed, it is time to say goodbye. If you are contemplating a separation or divorce, you may wish to consider the following advice, which I in fact used during my own divorce proceedings:

• Consult a marriage counsellor. There is no stigma associated with seeing a counsellor. These sessions can be the first beneficial and effective step in the journey of recovery for estranged spouses.

• Once you have exhausted the possibility of reconciliation, take proactive steps to work towards solutions to problems. Expedient resolution will help you and your spouse pick up the pieces and move on with your lives.

• Take a break from routine. Spend time alone to acknowledge your underlying emotions. Go through the grieving process and set yourself a timeline for this process to end.

• Once this process is over, ask yourself what you want to do next that will help you move forward.

In addition, ensure you seek the services of a trusted and reputed lawyer from the start of proceedings. A divorce lawyer is not only someone who assists the client with getting a divorce and resolving ancillary matters, but is also a very important part of the client’s support system.