Considering Separation? Read this first.
Are you considering separation?
A separation in your family. What does it mean for you?
Have you clearly thought it through?
This could be one of the most traumatic experiences a family will face.
Separation can be devastating for everyone involved.
How well you handle a separation will impact on how well you and your family cope now and in the future?
Are the traumas and conflict that you are now facing so great that they cannot be resolved?
Are there drug or alcohol abuse issues? Is there family violence in your relationship or between family members?
There may be issues that cannot be resolved and the only solution is to remove yourself from the impact on, not only on your life but the lives your children, your friends and associates. There may be no solution to such problems and a separation from the cause may be the only solution.
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES THAT CAN BE RESOLVED? WOULD A RESOLUTION BE MORE BENEFICIAL IN THE LONG TERM THAN A DISRUPTION TO YOUR FAMILY, CHILDREN, FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES?
Who can help to solve these problems?
Have you considered counselling either for yourself or jointly with your partner? Counsellors can help you work through your problems. You can find qualified counsellors in private practice as well as in government and community-based organisations. I have provided details of this in the additional help information section of our A to Z of Family Law.
Counselling works best if you and your partner attend sessions of your own free will. However, if you and your partner go to the Family Court, you may be ordered to attend counselling before a decision is made by the Court.
If counselling does not prevent your relationship breaking down, it can still help with resolving emotional issues that result from a separation. It is a good idea to shop around to find a counsellor with whom you feel comfortable and confident. There are many counselling organisations available to you. A simple internet search will provide links to many counsellors and psychologists who engage in family counselling both privately and through various government and non-government organisations.
If a separation is inevitable, what are the decisions you may need to make?
It is necessary to give consideration to the financial consequences of remaining in the relationship or separating from the relationship. Seek advice from a financial adviser.
Work out a budget setting out the expenses you will need to cover and that is required for your day-to-day living and other expenses. There are expenses not only for yourself but for your children, their schooling, medical and otherwise.
What are your financial needs?
You will need to consider not only the financial needs for yourself but the financial needs of your partner and children that you may be responsible for in either the short or the long term should you separate and live separately and apart. You will need to give consideration as to how you will provide for those needs.
What arrangements should I make for my children?
Are you to remain in the relationship home with the children and is your partner willing to leave the premises? You must bear in mind that the Court will not force someone to leave their own home unless there are real issues involving the family where children and the parties themselves are being affected by the emotions and the stresses involved in living together.
The Court will only intervene if such emotional stresses reach a peak whereby the parties or the children are suffering depression and are receiving medical care. The Court will not force someone out of their own home unless it is in the best interests of all concerned that someone should leave.
The Court when giving consideration to this would ascertain who is the best person to leave the home. Who would be least affected by such move:
- If your partner does not move away from the home, are you in a position to move to other premises?
- Do you have the financial means to meet the rent obligations of other premises for yourself and your children, if you wish the children to be with you?
- Are the premises suitable for the children?
- Will the children be affected by the move if they move out of the home with you?
If you cannot resolve these issues in counselling or if counselling is not available to you, seek legal advice and see what your legal position would be in such circumstances.