Divorce: How to Do It Yourself


We’re by nature inclined to want to do things ourselves. There’s an advert in New Zealand about DIY being in our DNA, and so it is for most of us. This isn’t always the case when you take the DIY into the legal arena. Buying a house, administering an estate, getting a divorce – all can be done by citizens, but dealing with regulations and the emotional effects can be too difficult for some. However, if you do decide to go down the DIY route for your divorce and have all your ducks in a row, you can get that divorce decree more quickly and much more cheaply than by going through a solicitor.

Personal Experience

 Divorce was made legal in Ireland on 17 June 1996. I’d been separated since 1981. I had no contact with my ex-husband, he never had any contact with his son, and I wanted nothing from him. Sounds straightforward. You’d think. I went to a solicitor to see about getting a divorce. She quoted me £3,000. For an uncontested divorce.

Eight years later, I began looking into DIY Divorce. In Ireland, people tend to remain separated but married until they want to remarry, so it was in my case.

The Process

 I bought a book written by the journalist Micheline McCormack that set out all the steps needed and provided copies of the forms required. All I had to do was type these out and file with the Family Court.

The main reason couples opt for the DIY process is cost, but like any legal undertaking, divorce can be complicated and if there are any issues where agreement cannot be reached, then a solicitor is usually the only option.

Here are the requirements for getting a divorce in Ireland.

  •  A legal separation is required before looking for a divorce, so the first thing to do is to set up an appointment with a mediation service. The Family Mediation Service is a free service to help Irish couples negotiate their own separation.
  • You must have lived apart for 2 out of the previous 3 years. The Family Law Act 2019 clarifies that couples  sharing a home but not in an intimate and committed relationship can apply for divorce.
  • At least one of you must be living in Ireland, and have lived here for at least one year, when the divorce application is made.
  • There must be no chance of reconciliation
  •  Appropriate arrangements must be in place for the spouse and any dependents.

The Filing Process

A Divorce that is by consent must still fulfill the criteria above and one party is still the applicant and one the respondent.

  • The Applicant submits an application form – Family Law Civil Bill – to the local Circuit Court. This form includes the agreements made during mediation as applies to the family home, custody, maintenance, pension and so on.
  • The Respondent confirms the application form.
  • Both parties provide a sworn Affidavit of Means
  • You submit a Notice of Motion and a sworn Affidavit attesting that you have followed the rules for getting divorced and including the final agreed terms.


 If you’re going for a DIY Divorce, you must fulfil the above requirements and file for divorce with the correct court in your county. My local Family Court was immensely helpful in ensuring I had the correct documents and answered any questions I had throughout the process.

By the time I got my divorce, Ireland had adopted the Euro currency. My divorce cost me the princely sum of €38! It’s around €300-400 now.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve gone the DIY route or if you’d like more information on the process. 


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Quarantine – Why Henry VIII is Responsible for it

According to Einstein, the definition of insanity was continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. The same could be said for the use of quarantine and lockdown to combat COVID.

The Black Death

The earliest mention of the Plague in England was The Black Death in June 1348. Originating in Asia, it was spread along shipping routes by flea-infested rats. The first known case was a sailor who arrived in Weymouth from France, where the Plague had also taken hold. It quickly spread to London, and by the following summer, it enveloped the whole country. It then began to die down, and by December, it was gone.

The good news resulting from this particular Pandemic was the end of the 100 hundred years war. They just couldn’t get the staff.

Another pandemic hit the shores in 1361/62, and after that, it returned periodically during the 14th and 15th centuries. Sometimes in particular areas, and at other times it spread throughout the country, killing between 10 to 20 per cent of the population each time.

Henry VIII was a hypochondriac 

It seems that the population put up with the situation as it was until Henry VIII was in power. Other infections such as Sweating Sickness were added to the mix by the beginning of the 16th Century, and Henry became more and more obsessed with keeping the infection at bay.

Henry was not only terrified of Sweating Sickness but of all types of illness. His doctor had to examine him regularly and reassure him that he was in good health. When the Sweating Sickness showed up in his locality, he’d pack up whichever castle he was living in and hotfoot it to somewhere it hadn’t reached.

Moving from place to place was the only option for the wealthy, and they would often only move within a county

Sweating Sickness

In August 1517, Henry’s court became ravaged by this Sweating Sickness (its origins are still unclear). When 2 of the pages who slept in his bedroom died, Henry dismissed all the staff, bar a few essential workers. He also had a mortal fear of London, where the infection rate was soaring. Despite repeated calls from Parliament, he said he was quite happy where he was (in Abingdon) and would stay put.

When his mistress Anne Boleyn caught the dreaded disease, even his love for her couldn’t tempt him from self-isolation. He sent his doctor to look after her, and of course, she survived. I wonder if she regretted that later on?


St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle was a favourite destination for pilgrims and Henry believed they were bringing the Plague with them. In an effort to make the castle infection-free, he wrote to St George’s College, instructing them to come up with a solution. And so, the first instance of quarantine as a means of containing a virus was implemented.

Once a house was quarantined, only one person was allowed out to shop for essentials. That person had to carry an upright white rod. This had to reach four feet above head height so that people could see the person and socially distance themselves. Another pole which was at least 8 feet long, had to be fastened to the side of their house. This pole had to have wisps of hay or straw attached to warn the community that the house was infected and keep their distance. These measures were to remain in place until 40 days after the patients were given the all-clear.

In the absence of any other solution, London followed suit but went a step further with the poles – the one to be carried was to be 10 feet at least. A bundle of hay or straw rather than a wisp was required for the household pole.

Easing of Restrictions

The businesspeople of London didn’t take kindly to quarantine, and the King’s Council allowed the annual Friar’s Fair to go ahead. We have no data on infection rates from that.

The Pandemic seemed to strike mostly at young men and the wealthy – might it have come from food shipped to the country and may have been infected by the same rats that caused the Plague?

Non-essential Travel

It made its way to Ireland (but not Scotland), where the Lord Chancellor of Ireland at the time, Hugh Inge, was one of its victims. However, the sickness didn’t make its presence felt as it had in England.

We come full circle

The wealthy continued to use mobility as their primary defence against the disease until it eventually died out in 1551, but quarantine remained and continues to remain, a tool used by the government in their response to pandemics.

‘take special regard and make diligent search amongst you from time to time that there be no resort, sojourning, nor lodging of any strange persons within any of your houses in our said college which shall come from London or any other place where any infection is.’

 The first ‘state’ quarantine measures in England (1517): St George’s College Archives, Windsor, IV.B.2

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No Graphic Design Experience? No problem. Canva to the rescue!

No Graphic Design Experience? No problem. Canva to the rescue!

 CANVA not only helps you create gorgeous graphics but you learn as you go by using the templates and learning the components of good design. 

I was never very good at putting graphics together. I ‘sort of’ knew what I wanted but every time I tried to put something together for a Facebook post or a book cover, I ended up with a graphic that looked homemade. You know what I mean, right? 

And then I found CANVA and all my excursions into Graphic Design World became fun and easy and best of all, my graphics looked professional. It’s free to use unless you need extra functionality but for most people, the free version will do.  I used these checklists for my learning curve and now I fly through creating designs for blog posts, social media and book covers. 

If you want to see how it’s done simply sign up below to receive the checklists by return


32 Checklists for you to follow to create amazing graphics

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How To Blog a Book

How To Blog a Book

How to Blog a Book

What holds most would-be authors back from publishing? It’s not a lack of writing talent. It’s not a lack of knowledge. And it’s definitely not a lack of desire.

If you ask most people why they haven’t finished their book, they’ll tell you they don’t have time.

We’re all busy people. You have clients to serve, a business to run, a family to care for. Not only that, but you’re spending time writing, marketing on social media, managing your team…the list is nearly endless.

When would you have time to write an entire book?

You’ve Probably Already Written It

It’s true. If you have a blog, and you’ve been maintaining it for more than a few months, then you very likely have already written all the content your book needs. All that remains is to organise and give it a light edit.

If you don’t have a blog (why not?), or your blog is young, blogging your book is even easier, since you can plan your content around your book topic.

Here’s how it works.

Think of your blog categories as sections, and each blog post as a chapter. You can loosely organise your book by sorting all your blog posts by category, then listing them in logical order. Your book may only contain a single category, or it might contain several. The choice is yours.

Remove self-serving, time sensitive, curated, or other content that doesn’t fit into a book. Remove the calls to action. It won’t make sense to promote your services or products—or worse, affiliate offers—within a book.

 Why you must Edit

What you’re left with is a rough draft of a book. All that remains is a few passes with your editor who you will have engaged for:

  1. Flow: Books should follow a logical path from one chapter to the next, so you’ll likely have to add or edit the beginnings and endings of your posts.
  2. Spelling, grammar and punctuation: Don’t skip this part. In fact, get someone else to do it. It’s too difficult to spot our own mistakes, and book readers are less forgiving than blog readers.
  3. Content: Enlist the help of a few friends or colleagues who you trust to share their honest opinion with you. Ask them to read through and note any content that is confusing, or that could be explained in greater detail.

That’s it! Revise, and you’re ready to publish.


 Think no one will read a book that’s repurposed from your blog?

Think again. Bloggers have used this method to write books for years, and some of them are spectacularly successful. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net fame wrote and published his wildly popular blogging guide based entirely on content he’d already published on his blog. He found that even though the content was freely available, people bought the book because they wanted the convenience of having it organized for them in one document.

Even fiction writers have discovered the power of blogging a book. Andy Weir, the author of “The Martian,” first published his book one chapter at a time on a blog.

Don’t continue to let excuses hold you back from publishing your book. Use the content you’ve already written, or strategically plan your blog to turn it into a book, but either way, get publishing!


Contact me if you don't want to do this yourself

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Self-Doubt Thrives When You Compare Yourself to Other Writers

Self-Doubt Thrives When You Compare Yourself to Other Writers

 Have you ever finished a wonderful book that, when you put it down, only left you feeling full of self-doubt? Because you think you’ll never write that well? Repeat after me 😊 I will never do this again! Comparing yourself to other writers can only damage your future successes. You may not be at the same experience level of those you’re comparing yourself to, and another person’s success may not be the magical transformation you feel it will be. 

 It’s not magic

Self-doubt can arise from the comparisons you make between you and fellow writers. Some may seem to have the Midas touch no matter what genre they write in–but you don’t know how many rewrites and edits they put that work through before it hit the bookshelves. 

 Those writers who are successful have likely spent an enormous amount of time and effort on their writing. It may look easy, but chances are they went through the same self-doubting process about their own potential for success. 

 Fear of exposure

Comparison to others and the self-doubt that follows goes on in every business – but it’s more prevalent in writing because you’re always putting yourself out there, presenting yourself and your ideas to others, particularly your friends and family (why do we feel more nervous about this audience?). They’ve been hearing for a long time about your writing, now they will see for themselves how good (or not) you are. 

The massive and constant success of others can make you feel like such a failure–because someone is always making more money than you or seems to be successful with everything they publish. 

Defeat the comparisons 

Comparisons like that are treacherous to your own self-confidence and can defeat what you’re trying to accomplish. You may not be aware of their many unfinished novels in the past or of how much time and money they’ve spent getting to this point. 

One way to view comparisons is to see them as challenges. “If she can do it, so can I!” may be exactly the boost you need to act, and make your own dreams come true. Note also that success for writers in the 21st Century is as much about marketing as it is about writing. Educate yourself on the strategies used by successful writers to get book sales.


Competition is fierce among writers. Looking into the strategies of other writers can be a good thing if you use them as models rather than comparing yourself to them negatively.  

Self-doubt can grow to be the nemesis of your future. Guard against comparing yourself to others negatively and focus on getting your writing to be the best it can be.


If you struggle with self-doubt why not join me for a 21-day Stop Thinking, Start Writing challenge 

Starts 22 February 2021