A Healthy Separation

The first working Monday after Christmas has been wryly dubbed by some commentators as “Divorce Day”.  Statistics show that the stresses of Christmas and New Year often results in parties agreeing to go their separate ways and, ultimately, divorce.

There is no doubting that the breakdown of a relationship can lead to a stressful environment and ultimately a battleground with high tension. There are a number of pitfalls that can be avoided, however, if one adopts a healthy approach to a separation.  It is important that the parties approach the situation with clarity and avoid any toxic behaviour.

Unfortunately, children can be caught up in the vortex of emotions that surround a separation. It is always best, therefore, to have a clear and flexible arrangement relating to the care of the children.  A plan can be drawn up in relation to contact with the children which should incorporate what will happen on certain dates such as the children’s birthdays, Parent-Teacher meetings, sports day, school plays etc.  Be honest with the children and do not unnecessarily discuss adult matters with them.  Any discussions with the children should always be age appropriate.

In the absence of such a plan then the parties can, of course, revert to Court but by the time the parties arrive at Court views may have become polarised, costs will have increased and the parties run the risk of the court implementing a plan for contact which may not reflect their wishes.

It is important that significant changes are not made by way of a knee-jerk reaction.  A separation or divorce is a major upheaval in any family’s life and decisions should be taken with the utmost care and consideration.

It is important to listen to each other and to discuss matters and evade arguments.  Point scoring should be avoided and one should never run down the other party, especially in written format such as text messages or emails or, worse still, by posting something on social media.

Take legal advice early on.  It is important that a suitably qualified solicitor is appointed and that you have a good relationship with your legal advisor.  It is not only important to obtain advice in relation to the ramifications of the breakdown of your marriage but it is also important that you get your personal and financial affairs in order.  Amongst other things, consideration should be made to updating your Will.

Unfortunately not all separations will run smoothly, regardless of best efforts.  It can often be the case that there is such a breakdown in the relationship that one party no longer feels safe.  It is important that the children, and the party on the receiving end of such behaviour, are kept safe at all times.  There is law to protect children and an abused partner and, where this is the case, the victim of the abuse should take immediate legal action.

Please contact Enda Lavery on 02890329801 if you have any questions.