“Baby I’m bored”

“Oh”

“Yeah it is just not working”

“Oh”

“I think we should separate for a while”

“Oh”

When you are on the receiving end of this conversation, your world can be turned upside down. You may have seen it coming or it may have hit you like a bolt out of the blue. Whatever happens you do need to take stock and look after yourself.

Friends and family

When going through a separation process, family and friends can be great support for you. They are usually prepared to give the time to listen to your problems and the usual case is a problem shared is a problem halved. Friends can help boost your confidence and if they have been through a similar situation themselves they can offer help and guidance. Beware however sometimes family and friends are just not a help. Blindly supporting you taking extreme confrontational positions is likely to result in an expensive separation in terms of both money and emotion.

Counselling with your other half

It may not be over. Many relationships break down because couples forget to talk and more importantly forget to listen. Proper professional relationship counselling can often help couples give direction and purpose to mending their relationship.

There are many couple counselling agencies available on the web and the most famous is Relate.

Personal counselling

Irrespective of whether you choose couple counselling, it is often a very good idea to seek the professional support and guidance of a divorce or separation coach or counsellor. These people are experienced at understanding and explaining the different moods and emotions that you will be feeling as you go through the separation process. This advice is confidential and tailored especially for you. It means that you can be honest without fear of your thoughts and history being spread by family and friends.

This can be very valuable support. Again many divorce and relationship coaches can be found on the web. Such as Counselling Directory or Resolution the family law specialists.

Legal advice

Whether you are a married couple or cohabiting, there will inevitably be legal implications to your separation, especially if there are children and finances. Obtaining the advice of a Resolution accredited family lawyer is likely to be one of the best things you do. You do not need necessarily to instruct a lawyer to conduct every aspect of your separation. It is however money well spent to sit down for an hour or so with a family law expert who will listen to all the facts and give you a detailed analysis of the relevant law, procedure and likely outcome. This will give you confidence in the discussions you have with your ex and will also give you peace of mind that many of your anxieties and concerns can be dealt with.

You can find a member of Resolution near you at or contact the family law team at Anthony Gold.

Resolution is an organisation of family law professional dedicated to resolving disputes positively and without confrontation.

Domestic abuse

If it is happening then do not tolerate it. Your children also should not have to tolerate living in a home where there is domestic abuse. You do not have to tolerate it and help is at hand.

Many Resolution family lawyers can give you speedy, confidential advice about how to solve this problem.

Health

It is important to look after your health during separation and not just physical health but mental health too. You can obtain information regarding counselling and emotional support to deal with both anger and stress.

Children

In any separation often the biggest concern is what will happen with the children. How will they cope with the separation and how can each parent maintain a safe, meaningful and supportive relationship with the children after separation. Advice from a Resolution family law expert is one of the priorities. You can use the very useful Cafcass parenting plan, click here to read more – this prompts you to consider all the different aspects that you are likely to come across in dealing with the children. Obtaining good advice can mean that although separating both parents will be able to work together collaboratively in what is a lifelong relationship in responsibility for bringing up and supporting the children. Research shows overwhelming evidence that where separating couples work together in respect of the children, then the children thrive and benefit. Practical arrangements can be put in place for the children spending time both seeing each parent and living with each parent where it is safe to do so. Also working out arrangements for school holidays, holidays abroad and financial support for the children. Information about child maintenance can be found by visiting the Child Support Agency (CSA), although now known officially as the Child Maintenance Service. Children are usually far more resilient and better equipped to deal with separation than adults are. However, some children may need support and help from counselling.

How to resolve disputes between you

There are various ways in which disputes relating to the children and the finances can be resolved. The best place to obtain advice is by visiting a Resolution lawyer who will set out the different options available, their advantages, their disadvantages and the likely cost. These include:-

Do it yourself

Much information is available on the internet and armed with this it is possible to sit down with your ex and try and work out constructively what the arrangements for the children and the finances might be. It is important to get legal advice at the outset here so that you do not make any mistakes or enter into settlements that are unfair, and unworkable and ones that would not be approved by a court.

Collaborative law

Collaborative law is a commitment to resolve issues concerning children and finances outside of the court. Each person in the separation has their own Resolution accredited collaborative lawyer who is committed to advising and supporting them through the process and achieving agreement in relation to children and finances. Commitment to full and frank disclosure of personal and financial matters is essential. You meet with your ex and their collaborative lawyer and the four of you discuss various ways of solving the problems in a solution based way. It is possible to bring in people such as pension experts, independent financial advisers, accountants, therapists and the so forth depending on the complexity of the problems. Collaborative law invariably works successfully. It is fair, supportive, focuses on children and is very cost-effective and far less stressful than the court process. See the helpful article below for more information, click here for more information.

Mediation

Mediation is where an accredited mediator is appointed to assist you and your ex in discussing matters relating to children and finances. The mediator helps you have a voice and ensures that both parties understand and listen to the issues of the other. The mediator helps you find the solutions. Mediators often work in different and challenging circumstances where otherwise people cannot talk to each other. Mediation is usually successful, click here for more information.

The court

If you cannot resolve matters through collaborative law or mediation, then you may have to go to court. The Family Court has the power to deal with applications relating to the children under the Children Act 1989 and issues concerning divorce and finance under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The advantage to the court is that at the end of the day a judge is going to make a decision about the issues in dispute and it is one that will be fundamentally fair after listening to all of the evidence. Sometimes court applications are necessary where there are safeguarding issues relating to domestic abuse or protecting finances. Many people find the court process stressful and it can take a long time and be quite expensive.

Cohabitation and unmarried couples

Many separating cohabiting couples may think that they are lucky that they do not need to go through a divorce process to separate. However the law relating to a couple’s finances whether property, pensions or savings can be made even more complex because of the different approaches that the court has to take with unmarried couples. Generally the situation with children is not different as if the father is on the birth certificate of the children, then both parents share parental responsibility and issues concerning the children are still dealt with under the Children Act 1989.

Conflict in relationship

It is very important to understand the implications of breaking up, not just in terms of the physical separation but the legal side too. It is not uncommon for those who do separate to feel sad, frustrated and even angry at times. It is very important how you manage all of these emotions. It is usually best to avoid conflict wherever possible. Separation is an emotional journey and there are various stages that psychiatrists recognise that the person goes through. This can be the initial shock and surprise, then denial in which the reality of the situation is not faced. Sometimes there is frustration and anger where there is a tendency to blame others. There can be a period of depression. However, most people come through separation positively and they find themselves in a better, stronger position than they had been prior to and during the separation.