Going through a separation is never easy and there is no handbook to guide you through it. Here you’ll find some practical tips which should assist in making, what can be a very stressful and emotional experience, a little easier.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself.
One of the first things you should do is make an appointment with a lawyer that specialises in family law, even if it’s just for a one-off consultation. Knowledge is power. At Carr & Co Divorce & Family Lawyers our aim is to educate our clients early on about the process and the likely range of outcomes for their property dispute or the variety of care arrangements available to separated parents. We will also give you advice about what sort of documents you need to start collating which we discuss further on in this article.
It is also really important to build a good rapport with your divorce lawyer. After all, you will be seeing them, potentially at your worst, and imparting to them the details of your relationship and breakdown. At Carr & Co we have a wide-ranging team with different skillsets and personalities in order to get the right fit for you and your separation issues.
Records, records, records.
The thing about a separation is that there is a lot of “he said”/ “she said” or “she said”/”she said”, whatever the relationship dynamic might be. This is where records come in. Keeping a diary about matters concerning the children is always a good point of reference about the time the children have spent with the other party or any incidents which might have occurred. Having a contemporaneous note about something you might later give evidence on will help your position.
Where possible, keeping communications in writing is also helpful. People often have different recollections about what transpired during a phone or face to face conversation but having a written note which confirms who actually said what helps provide clarity on the situation. People often have selective memory when a separation has occurred.
The Family Court is big on requiring people to provide what’s known as full and frank disclosure. This is expected even if you don’t go to Court. So get organised early and get your personal documents – your tax returns, your bank statements etcetera organised in an orderly and preferably chronological fashion. You won’t regret it.
Password protection. If it’s not on, it’s not on.
During a relationship it’s normal to share personal and private details with your partner. However, on a separation what you are willing to share often changes. It’s a good idea to go through and change all of your important passwords to ensure the privacy of your information. Changing the password on your email address and the passcode to your phone can be ultra important if you’ve instructed a lawyer. You don’t want the privilege of the communication between you and your lawyer to be called into question because at some point you gave your ex-partner your password. It is better to be safe than sorry so take whatever steps are necessary to protect your information.
Put the phone down.
Social media is no place for the details of your separation. You would be surprised at how many posts are included in affidavits presented to the Family Court. Often parties continue to have mutual friends on Facebook and the like, despite unfriending and blocking one another. Venting about the Family Court or your proceedings on social media is another big no-no. Lawyers and litigants often spend time perusing the other party’s social media, looking for anything they can use to their advantage in a negotiation or a litigation, so be warned.
The dangers of dating.
Dating post separation can be a minefield for a variety of reasons. However, those that might be relevant to your separation are firstly, your children. A separation is a big change for children and although they are typically robust, introducing a new partner into the mix is something to be considered carefully. It also helps to think, how would you feel if your ex-partner was introducing the children to their new partner? At this point in time? And in this manner? A new relationship can also impact on the negotiating dynamic between you and your ex-partner. This isn’t always something you’re worried about, but you should take a minute to consider if you should be.
If you or any one you know is contemplating a separation and is seeking some advice on what that might look like, come and see one of our specialised team. We offer face to face appointments at either our Perth or Mount Pleasant offices, appointments by phone or videoconferencing facilities such as Skype, Zoom and Microsoft teams. Contact us here.