What support is available to me during separation?When people are considering separation, many will initially ‘go it alone’ with working through the various processes; the things they need to consider when separating, dividing their property, parenting issues, getting a divorce etc. But to get through the process ensuring all your rights and entitlements are protected, you’re actually much better off taking advantage of the swathe of professionals that can assist you.

Separation is difficult enough without feeling like you’re totally on your own

There are several stressful traumatic events that can occur in an adult’s life:

  1. Death of a loved one.
  2. Change of career or unemployment.
  3. Buying and selling houses.
  4. Ongoing sickness to you or a loved one.
  5. Separation and/or divorce.

No matter how amicable people are, separation is stressful

No one walks into a relationship or marriage knowing that it is going to end with appointments booked at a family lawyer’s office.

There is often sadness, shame and grief. When there are children involved, then there is often guilt.

A team will always be stronger than an individual

To get through this process with the best support in place, it can be invaluable to have a great team of people on your side who work collaboratively together to get you an outcome.

Your team could include some of the following professionals and advocates.

  1. Your family lawyer – often it is the lawyer who assists with decision making for both parenting and financial matters. They will consider a number of parts (the law and other factors) to support you in the pathway towards a settlement.

It is the lawyer who collates the multiple parts to bring it together to negotiate.

By having a lawyer who is used to working with a team of people (within and external to their law firm) to reach a settlement, can only improve your chances of a successful negotiation.

  1. Your accountant – often when your relationship or marriage breaks down, the last thing you want to do is go through the ins and outs of your finances. Working through assets, liabilities, income, expenses and financial resources can be both exhausting and tricky. By having a great relationship with your accountant, they can often do a lot of the hard work for you.

When your relationship does irretrievably breakdown, we recommend you get in touch with your accountant and ask for their assistance in collating a balance sheet of your assets, liabilities, superannuation and any other financial resources.

  1. A therapist – whether it be a counsellor, psychologist, life coach, general practitioner or any other health professional experienced in assisting people with their mental health, we recommend you find one.

There is no doubt that this process is traumatic and difficult to reconcile. You are not only managing your own emotions, but you are also trying to deal with your former partner or husband or wife – and often those of your children.

Having a therapist who can assist you in getting through these times, can only put you further ahead in surviving the separation. Therapists often provide great advice to parents about assisting their children through this time and simple self-care measures to minimise the trauma on the individual.

  1. Your financial planner – whilst accountants play an important role in any separation, so do financial planners. Two houses are more expensive to run than one. By consulting a financial planner early in the process, they will assist in guiding you through making sensible financial decisions when it comes to negotiating a property settlement, spousal maintenance, child support requirements etc.
  2. Your children’s school – if you have children, you should let your children’s school know what is happening at home. With insight into the home environment, they can monitor your child at school and provide them with additional support.

Children present stress in multiple ways – they may act out behaviorally, they may retreat and not play with their friends, they may experience an increasing sore tummy when it comes to the end of the day or they may demonstrate signs of school refusal (often wanting to support their parent at home).

Give your child’s school some assistance by letting them know what is happening. Clarify your arrangements with regard to handover and seek any further support from the school should your child need it.

When all your team are heading in the same direction, this can only help in increasing your chances of a more successful (and likely peaceful) negotiation.

At Meillon & Bright, during your first appointment with our office, we reach out to you and ask you about your team. If you need assistance in finding members of your team to support you during the journey, we can always make recommendations for colleagues who we have worked with and achieved success for clients in the past.

Legal advice and assistance during COVID-19

We continue to provide skilled and experienced family law services during the coronavirus outbreak.

Our team is now largely working from home with remote access.

We are working closely with the courts, our colleagues and clients to ensure services to all new and existing clients are delivered efficiently and with as little disruption as possible.

You can contact us by phone or email to arrange a telephone or video-conference consultation.

Phone

WA:   08 6245 0855

NSW:   02 9238 1958

Email

reception@meillonandbright.com.au

You can find the most recent ‘Coronavirus and Client Services’ updates by clicking here.

About the Author

Today’s article is written by family lawyer Kristie Smith. You can learn more about Kristie’s expertise and experience here or get in touch with her directly about your family law matters.

The information contained in this article is of general nature and should not be construed as legal advice.