SURVIVING A SEPARATION
Having been there myself this is a topic close to my heart, how people cope after separation. I feel huge sympathy for people going through it right now, with the world turned upside down. I hope these thoughts about some positive things you can do to survive a separation might help you, or someone you care about who is going through separation.
#1 It is OK to be sad – according to the experts, a separation is up there at the top of the list of life’s most traumatic experiences, underneath the death of a loved one. For many, separation is like a death. It is the end of a life as you knew it. So you don’t have to pretend it is all OK.
You’re not alone. Call on the support of family and friends. Better yet, get some professional assistance with a counsellor or psychologist, even if you feel you are doing fine, it doesn’t hurt to talk it all through and make sense of your feelings. It is especially important if you have children that you get your children help through their school or through a specially designed program such as those run by Relationships Australia.
#2 Children WILL be affected by separation. They can be surprised, angry, sad, confused, insecure, frightened, and also grieving for the loss of the family unit. They can feel responsible. Chances are good, they still love the other parent and miss them greatly. They might start behaving differently at school and home. It is great if you can recognise the signs your child is struggling with the separation and get them some help, as early as you can.
#3 – Start taking action and getting information. Separation can be completely overwhelming. Where do you start to unravel plans for the future and finances? What should happen with arrangements for children and who gets what financially? I guarantee you, the sooner you get some advice and assistance to work out a plan of action, the better you will feel. Clients tell me time and again how much better they feel even after the first appointment because they can see some light at the end.
#4 Put a routine in place for children. All the parents out there know that children thrive on stability and routine. The best post separation parenting arrangements are those that are ideally negotiated between yourselves, consistent, and provide for children to have time with both parents (if that is what is best for them). This does not necessarily mean an equal time arrangement particularly for children under school age.
#5 It will get better!! At some point, these disputes will get sorted one way or the other. How quickly and affordably is up to you and the other person. If you are both committed to sorting this all out so you can both move on, it can happen quite quickly and without the expense of court proceedings.
If you want to know how, call us or book an online appointment. We offer a 15 minute free consultation to get an idea of how we can assist you and what the fees might be.
Nardine Collier is an accredited Specialist in Family Law, a Family Law Mediator, and Director of Collier Family Lawyers and Cairns Mediations.