It is important for those separating to obtain help. This may involve seeing a counsellor to help them cope with a separation, an accountant or financial planner to help them make financial decisions, or a lawyer to obtain legal advice. A referral to another professional is important, as the problems that separated couples face are not just legal.
Tips for separated couples include:
- Seek professional help if you are finding it difficult to cope and perhaps harbouring feelings of loss, anger or guilt – visit your local GP to obtain a referral.
- Talk to friends and family and make use of existing support networks. You should be careful about what you say to mutual friends because becoming involved in a ‘war of words’ might only make things worse.
- If there are children involved, try not to involve them in any conflict between you and your former partner.
- Get legal advice. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to engage a lawyer to represent you. You should see a lawyer to get advice about where you stand. If appropriate, engage a lawyer to conduct negotiations on your behalf. Although not always possible, it is best to avoid court. Going to court can be expensive and may make the pain of separation worse.
- Get financial advice. Talk to your accountant and a financial planner about the effects of any proposed settlement between you and your former partner. Knowing where you stand financially will help you make clearer decisions about your future.
- Remember, you are generally under no obligation to leave the family home, even if asked to do so by your partner. However, leaving home may help you minimise the pain of separation. You should seek legal advice before doing so.
- Keep a diary of relevant dates and events. People often find it difficult to remember timelines and dates and keeping a diary will make it easier.