Thinking About Separating? Recently separated?
Avoiding the wrong move might be the best move you ever make

If you are thinking about separating, or have recently broken the news to your partner, these tips are to help you avoid as much of the hurt and cost as possible.
If your partner has recently told you they want to end your relationship, you probably think they have already made the wrong move. These tips are to help them and you avoid making it worse.

The advisors and coaches you decide to consult and work with are going to have a big impact on the next months or years of your life, and potentially on the life of your children. Choose them carefully.

You need good advice. Good advice is not about telling you what you want to hear. Good advice is not about ignoring the other story in your relationship. Good advice is not about single options. Good advice is not always instantaneous.

You need the best advice. The best advice is about really listening, and it is fearless. The best advice is about hearing your story and leaving room for the other story. The best advice is about a range of possibilities. The best advice is well-considered.

So, choose your advisors wisely, take time, do your research, ask for referrals from advisors, friends or family you trust. Be prepared to get a second opinion. Whatever that costs, it might be a very good investment in setting the right tone, the right path, and saving a lot of money, time, conflict, stress and health challenges.

But, before you get to your separation and divorce advisors, here are some don’ts that we hope you can avoid. If some of them have happened, try not to add to the list, and remember there is always a place for a genuine apology. We have seen what happens when there are too many ‘don’ts’ in a separation, and they make life harder for everybody.

  • Don’t leave the relationship without discussion (unless safety is an issue)
  • Don’t speak to friends/family/children before speaking to your spouse
  • Don’t involve your children in details of your relationship breakdown
  • Don’t ‘lawyer up’ as your first step
  • Don’t leave your spouse or children without enough funds to live
  • Don’t be dishonest about third parties
  • Don’t put the family business at risk
  • Don’t hide money (remember it leaves a trail)
  • Don’t waste or lock up money
  • Don’t indulge in nastiness, vindictiveness or punishment
  • Don’t believe yours is the only perspective
  • Don’t be abusive in what you say, do, or write
  • Don’t refuse to talk (unless safety is an issue)

Don’t refuse to consider a co-operative way to negotiate your settlement (unless safety is an issue)

We of course recommend looking at collaborative practice is the perfect option for addressing all of the issues you face. Check out our practitioner directory.

Take care of your family and contact VACP at www.vacp.com.au or admin@vacp.com.au if you are in the process of or considering separating.

By Marguerite Picard. Collaborative Family Lawyer who never goes to court