A Healthy Separation

 

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

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

Unfortunately, children can be caught up in the vortex of emotions that surrounds 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 and this should incorporate what will happen on the children’s birthdays and at other relevant dates, such as Parent-Teacher meetings, sports day, school plays and the like.  Be honest with the children and do not unnecessarily discuss adult matters with the children.  Any discussion with children should always be age appropriate.

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

It is important that the parties do not make significant changes by way of a knee-jerk reaction.  A separation or divorce is a major upheaval in any family’s life and, therefore, any decision should be taken with the utmost consideration.

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

You should take legal advice early on.  It is important that a suitably qualified solicitor is appointed and that you have a good relationship with that 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 one gets your affairs in order.  Consideration should also be made to updating your Will.

Unfortunately not all separations will run smoothly regardless of your 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.

If you require advice in respect of any matter, please contact us for a free consultation.