Having mediated for divorcing couples for many years and been through a divorce myself, I understand just how much stress a divorce can place on separating couples. So I’ve put together a comprehensive list of my divorce do’s and don’ts to help you get through this challenging time.
Divorce is undoubtedly one of the most stressful life events one can experience. Stress can cause us to react and behave in ways we may not under different circumstances, so keeping our emotions in check is important during this time.
Here are my top divorce do’s and don’ts for separating couples.
Divorce Do’s & Don’ts
- Make a note of your separation date. This may be important as the law requires that you have been separated for at least one year before being able to apply for a divorce.
- Do a financial stock take at separation. Work out and document your assets and liabilities at the date of your separation so you know exactly where you stand financially.
- Keep lines of communication open – being able to talk to each other calmly and rationally will help you get through the process with less stress. If communication is difficult, stick to written forms like text and email to ensure there are no misunderstandings and you have a clear record of all interactions if needed in the future.
- If you have children, always put their needs first – and try to stay on the same page with your ex in terms of arrangements for the kids. Your children will suffer less if they see their parents co-operating rather than fighting over them.
- Create new boundaries with your ex – emotionally or physically, or both – and stick to them. This will help you move on.
- Act with integrity at all times and show respect for your ex, especially in front of your children.
- Create a support network – and use it! Friends, family, a support group – any of these can help pick you up when you’re feeling down, or help out if you need a hand, or shoulder to cry on.
- Set a new budget for your life going forward. Work out your expenses and income and ensure you aren’t spending more than you can afford. Starting a new life by getting into debt can be as stressful as getting a divorce.
- Get advice if you feel unsure about how to move forward. This could be through divorce mediation sessions or hiring a family lawyer (or both).
- Update your will and any other policies such as superannuation where you have nominated your spouse as a beneficiary.
- Don’t try to hide money or assets. You have a legal responsibility to disclose all assets during your divorce and you could face serious penalties if you don’t fully disclose all of your assets or income or property to which you are entitled.
- Don’t have any specific expectations on your ex – you can’t control how they behave or react but you can control how you do.
- Never talk badly about your ex in front of your children.
- Avoid making emotional decisions. If you’re feeling emotional, take a step back from the situation, breathe, calm yourself and return to the issue with a fresh attitude later.
- Don’t focus on what you think you are owed or what you think you deserve. These are often emotional responses, not logical ones. Be prepared to negotiate openly. Parties will almost always have different perceptions of fairness and reasonableness; none of them are necessarily wrong – they are just perceptions, not facts.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want though – as long as you believe it is fair.
- If there are any binding agreements put in place, make sure you stick to them. Don’t go against any court orders such as restraining orders or financial orders.
- Never record your ex without their permission. This is a violation of their right to privacy. If you have concerns about your communication, keep them written at all times.
- Don’t stop your children from communicating with your ex. As much as you may not like it, they will always be your children’s parent and, unless there are court orders preventing them from talking to or seeing the children, you need to find a way to allow this to happen.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Think about what’s really important in the moment and whether in 5 years this issue will seem worth the fight or a huge waste of your time, effort and money.
Add Divorce Mediation To Your To Do List
When it comes to divorce do’s and don’ts, family mediation should be added to your to do list.
Family mediation can help you resolve matters regarding your divorce and how to split your assets, finances and child care fairly.
Call Move On Mediation today for an obligation-free, confidential chat about your circumstances – 0418 928 448, or get in touch online now. As family mediation specialists in Perth, we can help you move on quickly for an affordable cost.