Separating: Why is it so hard and how can I make it easier?

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Separating: Children, Divorce and Property. 

Separation is difficult. There are no two ways about it. The longer that you have been together with your partner the more likely it is that you have made a variety of joint commitments both personal and financial.  Dealing with these joint commitments at a time of emotional turmoil is very difficult for all clients. 


One of the most important things that you can do to make things easier is: stop and think. There are big issues to consider and negotiating back and forth with your ex to come to a ‘handshake’ agreement does not normally help.  Hopefully you can come to some understanding with respect to your children and maybe you both have a general idea about how to divide the asset.  However, these issues involve all of your children and all of your finances (including your superannuation): it is simply too risky not to get legal advice.  Even if you are happy to settle on the general basis that you have agreed with your partner, both of you will still need legal advice about what your rights are and more often than not a binding contract known as a binding financial agreement will need to be made.


Instructing a pragmatic lawyer as close to the day of separation as possible will usually save you time, heartache and money. This is the case because parties are often more willing to settle matters early on.  In fact, most clients will say to their lawyer, "I do not want this to drag out”. The more protracted the matter becomes, the higher the likelihood of more conflict and inevitably the more polarised the parties become. The legal costs rise and both parties spend enormous amounts of time worrying about their matter.


Also, the longer a matter continues the more likely it is that one of the parties “moves on” quicker than the other. This generally causes the other party to feel deep resentment and anger which does not help bring the matter to an end.


So what can you do apart from instructing a divorce lawyer? 


1.       Get organised.  You will be asked to provide documents and information at the beginning of your matter.  Try to put that information into some order before providing it to your divorce lawyer.   

2.       Clear your mind and think about what you can do to help the situation; listen to your legal advice and instruct your lawyer as clearly as you can.

3.       Try to detach yourself from the matter and have another interest that will help you stop worrying about your matter all of the time.


These simple steps go a long way towards getting the legal issues settled, keeping the emotional stress to a minimum and moving on with your life

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Sebastian was admitted to the Bar in 2006, and has been practising at Boylan Lawyers since 2007. He became a partner with Paul in February 2012. In this short time, Sebastian has been an passionate contributor to the law, particularly in South Australia. He is a member of the Council of the Law Society of South Australia, a Committee member of Law Society Country Lawyers Committee, a Committee member of the Law Society Family Law Committee, a member of the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Committee which overseas that lawyers keep their knowledge and skills up to date. Sebastian is also board member of the Westside Community Lawyers Board. Sebastian currently practises in many areas of law, and can help you with estate claims, family law including children, divorce and property settlement.
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