What Really Matters to Separating couples?

After years of working with individuals or couples going through separation, it has been interesting to reflect on their key concerns/issues.

  • Fear of an acrimonious process
  • Feeling overwhelmed and/or disempowered
  • Anxiety about the future
  • Telling the children
  • Lack of financial literacy/confidence
  • Wanting to be heard
  • Access to the children
  • The children thriving during and after the separation
  • Co-parenting arrangements and future communication
  • A fair outcome
  • Financial security
  • Living arrangements

While not necessarily in order of importance, the first few issues show up most frequently, in the initial session. Not wanting “to battle it out in court” nor “having a fight with my ex” are commonly used phrases. Being in the midst of an emotional rollercoaster ride, accompanies many individuals on the separation journey, while they try to make rational and very important decisions for their own and the children`s future.

A collaborative process which involves an interdisciplinary team, optimises the separating couple`s capacity to cope with these important (listed) concerns. While each person has their own lawyer, a psychologist/social worker supports the individuals around emotional management, healthy communication and children`s concerns, often including a child specialist. A financial professional works closely with each party, clarifying and explaining their financial landscape.

Together, the team of professionals support the separating couple and their family, in a safe and respectful environment, that minimises tensions and enables them to deal with all their concerns in a considered and productive manner. Individuals are empowered to speak up and be actively involved in a process that meets their needs and is frequently transformative, enabling a healthier future relationship.

As a witness to individual`s personal strengths and willingness to embrace the collaborative process, I feel privileged to be part of a team process that expertly and safely holds separating couples, gently guiding them towards positive certainty, without judgement from the compassionate professionals.

By Sandy Hirschfield. Psychologist