13th November 2017
James phoned to talk about Christmas today. I suppose with the Christmas adverts starting to appear on TV it’s prompted him to think about it. We’ve agreed that the children will be with me on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and that he will have them on the Wednesday to Saturday morning. I assume that James will be with Amelia on Christmas Day so maybe that’s why he was immediately amenable to them staying with me?
Whatever the reason, I’m happy. I couldn’t bear not to be with them on Christmas Day. My Mum and Dad will come over in the morning and we’ll have our usual festive G&T before taking Juno for a long walk and then having a late lunch. I’m actually looking forward to it now rather than being apprehensive about it.
10th November 2017
I am so relieved that we’ve agreed a financial settlement. I know that will give our children what they need and whilst things will inevitably be different to before we separated, I am fortunate to have enough money to live on.
In practical terms though, it’s not signed and sealed just yet. Marilyn is in control of the process and has drafted our consent order. This is with James’s solicitor for review and she will keep communicating with him until it’s finalised. After that it is sent to the court to approve. It will be another month or so until it’s completed, or maybe longer as Christmas is approaching.
During that time I can talk to the broker about transferring the house into my name and releasing James from the mortgage. I’m relieved that Marilyn is so experienced with all this. We accepted a clause in the order that the house must be sold if I cannot get James released from the mortgage. This just has to be there as a back-up as I’m expecting to get James removed from the mortgage.
This means that I can wait to apply for the decree absolute in the New Year – a fitting time to start the next phase of my life.
2nd November 2017
Marilyn was fantastic yesterday. She was amazing. She went through everything with a fine-toothed comb and was sensible, level headed yet open to compromise in order to help us reach an agreement. I really was impressed with how she helped us to reach a resolution and her years of experience were clearly on show.
She had briefed me about how the meeting would work so that I was prepared, but I have to say I hadn’t truly understood the skill needed to negotiate even the smallest details of the maintenance payments. Marilyn had impressed upon me that I wouldn’t get any more than what I’d requested previously but that she would be working to ensure that I receive as much of that amount as possible.
We debated everything from the cost of the cleaner, holidays, and private health cover through to dental care, food budgets, school trips, school uniform and shoes. So many details but Marilyn was focused – I don’t know how she managed all that information, but she did.
I am so pleased that the finances are now agreed and I know how much money I will have each month. James and I were able to smile at each other afterwards, I thought he was going to hug me at one point, but he seemed happy with the agreement. I’m relieved. I’d hate this to become a cause of resentment as that would ultimately impact the children.
Time for a glass of bubbles and a warm bath. That’s how I roll these days!
27th October 2017
The children have been away with James for a long weekend and they had a great time together, but Lottie is having the most awful nightmares. She’s woken twice now talking about a three-headed dog. It turns out that James let her watch Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone. Thankfully Dylan was in bed. It goes without saying that he didn’t mention this to me so I couldn’t work out what had upset her until I’d spoken to him about it. It just shows that he doesn’t understand what’s appropriate for his own children. I need to make sure that I keep reinforcing this sort of thing.
I need to seriously reconsider Halloween – I was going to take them to a Halloween party but I don’t want to trigger any more nightmares.
14th October 2017
One of the things that I hadn’t realised about the divorce process was how much time it all takes. Marilyn has prepared me for the roundtable meeting, explaining that it is important for me to listen and try not to get too upset about anything James or his Solicitor says, but to let her know if I’m upset and need a short break.
It is vital to me that we both come to an amicable agreement at this meeting – I can’t bear the thought of having to go to court.
I trust Marilyn implicitly – she knows enough about me now to understand what I find acceptable and what I really don’t agree with. She also wants the best for me and the children and I know that she will fight my corner, without being unreasonable. She has been like a good friend through all this; strong when I need her to be but also there as a shoulder to cry on when I’ve needed that too.
On a lighter note, Ellie has arranged a meal out and for the first time in a long time I am in the mood to go out and enjoy myself with my best friend. I can hear the pop of Prosecco bottles even now!