You do not necessarily have to be swept up in it yourself when facing separation.
Setting up good foundations is critical, as is adopting and maintaining a “big picture” and collaborative mindset wherever possible.
(Don’t necessarily assume your former partner is beyond this themselves – chances are, you have a lot more in common about how your feeling than anyone else in your life right now.)
For your best chance of a successful split (yes, they exist!), consider the following:
- Get emotional support from a trained professional. There is no shame in it, and it will likely be your best investment (other than a good family lawyer of course!)
- Respectful direct communications between you and your former partner based on clear goals and a known plan is the best bet. Sure you can have lawyers, but maintaining the lines of communication between you is important (and cheaper for the both of you!) – it will be hard, no doubt about it. See point 1 to help with this (both your own support and working on your communication skills).
- Consider engaging third parties other than lawyers to assist the process. Your accountant is a good starting point. Joint counselling to help manage separation, especially in relation to children, is also a good option.
- Speaking of good family lawyers, engage someone who is the right fit for you; someone who you feel supported by, but also someone who is willing to tell you how it really is, and focus on your true goals. A lawyer who takes a pragmatic and collaborative approach is best. It is also a good idea to discuss with your former partner about how you will both be better off each having a lawyer like this and who will work together with you to try to achieve a win/win for you both.
- Once you have a good lawyer, you won’t need the opinions of others, or to compare your own circumstances to family law outcomes you have heard about from others. Stay in your own lane (and feel free to remind others to do the same!)
- While not cheap, privately funded mediations and even arbitration (think private court) are options to get to an outcome faster and at less personal cost (your emotional and physical health, your relationships, and ultimately, your money) than protracted court proceedings.
- Don’t be trapped in place by fear or uncertainty. Early advice and support is best. Reach out as soon as possible (even if you’re not sure your ready)
CAVEAT (of course, we’re lawyers) – some of the above suggestions may not work in all cases and will not be suitable where you feel unsafe, there is an uneven power dynamic or there are significant personality/behavioural issues at play.
We hope this helps you or someone you know.
Reach out if you need further support.
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