Did you know that getting a divorce can take up to a year? It’s a lengthy process affected by all sorts of aspects, from children to assets, to having proper mediation.
A separation is a life-changing event that can become all-consuming and extremely stressful. But it doesn’t have to be.
There are steps that you can take to make it as hassle-free and painless as possible. These steps include seeking professional advice and dealing with custody matters adeptly.
Keep reading for seven crucial steps to take when going through a separation.
1. Get Some Professional Advice
Getting separated doesn’t need to be a messy affair. To avoid any ugly hiccups avoid trying to figure out the whole process of filing for separation on your own.
Finding a solicitor to assist you in the process will make it much smoother and easier for you. Seek professional advice so that you know what your options are and the consequences for different courses of action.
A professional solicitor will guide you through the exact steps you need to take to ensure the best possible outcome.
You need to understand the legal ramifications of ending a marriage and there’s no better way to do this than to speak to an expert.
2. Find a Place to Reside
You may already have somewhere temporary in mind, perhaps a family member or friend, but it’s important to think about the long term — especially if there are children involved.
If you own a home with your spouse, you need to figure out if someone is going to stay there or if you’re going to sell and split the assets.
Finding an adequate place to reside is incredibly important for a number of reasons. If you have children, you’ll need to provide a safe and adequate environment — for their benefit and for your custody rights.
Having a plan about where you will live will also help you to organize your expenses. And if you’re staying in your home, you will have to change utility accounts and such.
3. Be Cautious With Communication
Getting a divorce is a stressful and emotional situation and you probably won’t feel like yourself. It’s very important to proceed with caution when it comes to communicating with your spouse, friends and families, lawyers, and on social media.
Airing your displeasure with your marriage or anything about the separation process on social media is an absolute no-no. This can come back to bite you later on in the process.
Don’t promise anything to your partner when you’re emotional, and do your best to keep your anger in check.
4. Treat Your Co-Parent as a Business Partner
For the well-being of your children, you will need to learn how to effectively co-parent. If you cannot come to a custody and parent time agreement with your partner, you’ll likely have to undergo a child custody investigation. If you’re unsure what that entails, read this article on child custody investigations.
Hopefully, you can avoid all that by treating your co-parent as you would a business partner. Be courteous and responsive to communication. Never badmouth your co-parent to your children or on social media.
The other person is not your enemy — they are the parent of your children and it’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain a decent relationship with them. You will always need to work with them and they will always be in your children’s lives.
5. Do a Financial Stocktake
When you go through a legal separation you’ll be responsible for your own finances. It’s time to do a financial stocktake to understand where you are and if it’s a good place to be.
Make a list of joint and independent assets and debts as well as upcoming bills and expenses — especially those concerning children.
You’ll need to close any joint accounts unless you decide to keep it as a shared fund for your children’s expenses.
6. Retrieve All Your Belongings
You’ll need to do a household stocktake too. What belongings do you share, what will you keep and what will go to your partner?
Once you’ve decided this, you’ll need to retrieve your belongings. If your partner attempts to obstruct this in any way you will have to seek legal counsel or the assistance of law enforcement.
7. Visit a Counselor
Last, but certainly not least, consider seeking professional support from a counselor or therapist. A legal separation is a massive life change that can be incredibly difficult to process and adapt to. You may feel okay, but it’s possible you’re running on autopilot and not confronting any of your emotions.
The same goes for your children. A divorce can be devastating for families, leaving children with unresolved trauma. This should not put you off filing for separation but rather encourage you to ensure you do it the right way.
Consider family counseling and research different options to find what would work best for you and your family.
Be Strong When Going Through a Separation
The most important thing to remember is that you’re making the right decision for yourself and your family when you’re going through a separation. While it may become difficult at times and feel overwhelming, keep putting one foot in front of the other and your head held high. Seek professional help when you need it and lean on others for support.
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