Your New Normal: Adjusting to Life Following Separation or Divorce
Posted: 13th March 2019
Posted by: Fiona Browne, Associate
For some people, separation or divorce may include a lengthy and unpleasant experience in the Family Court. Parties may be unable to resolve matters themselves. The Family Court may be required to determine issues including parenting arrangements, property division or financial arrangements for the children or spousal maintenance. Adjusting to life following separation or divorce may be daunting but inevitable.
Added to the emotional stress experienced in a litigated family law matter, there are also the practical difficulties such as long delays for a final hearing date and then the lengthy wait for a decision from the judge.
Eventually, you leave the Family Court system. It’s time to recover from the stress and strain of your family law matter and to start your “new normal”, your life after separation or divorce.
Here Are Our 3 Tips for Adjusting to Life Following Separation or Divorce
1. Consider Counselling
When a relationship or marriage ends, consideration should be given to counselling. It can help you with adjusting to your new situation. It can also be of great assistance when dealing with and managing your family law matter and the final orders.
There are no “winners” in a family law matter. Regardless of the outcome, neither party is a winner. There will be emotional and financial consequences for both parties. Having an independent person to “check-in” with can assist in recognizing when you are acting in an emotionally driven manner rather than in a sensible and rational manner.
2. Comply with Court Orders
Whether you have reached an agreement privately through Mediation or following a trial in the Family Court, you must comply with the Court Orders. This is part of adjusting to life following a separation or divorce
Breaching a Court Order can have serious ramifications. The end results can include a costs order or in the most serious case, the Court may order that a person be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 12 months for breaching an order.
Even if you believe you have a reasonable excuse for non-compliance with a Court Order, seek legal advice to ensure that your failure to comply is based upon reasonable grounds. An example would be in a parenting matter where non-compliance (known as contravention) with the parenting order was necessary to protect the health or safety of the child.
3. Family Dynamics and Parental Behaviour
Divorce and separation forever alter the dynamics of a family unit. If you have children, it is essential to work towards creating a “new normal” for both yourself and the children. Adjusting to life following a separation or divorce becomes easier when everyone is on board.
What can be done to ensure that the needs of the children are met and that they understand the changes to their family unit? How much information is necessary? How can you ensure that the children feel secure and loved?
It is not the end once you have the final order from the Family Court. Particularly in parenting matters, there is the prospect of many years of required interaction with your former spouse.
Consider engaging a counsellor, mediator or family dispute resolution practitioner to assist with ironing out any issues. Sitting across the table from someone who has an entrenched view may be difficult but the experience of family law litigation is much more stressful and expensive.
If all else fails, contact your family lawyers and work together to negotiate any issues.