Separation is very traumatic, especially when there is on-going conflict about arrangements that need to be made. It is very difficult for people to make the adjustments that are needed after separation or divorce. It is emotionally difficult to detach from someone we have been in a relationship with for a while. Although couples have separated, there are still bonds of attachment. These feelings may be around for a long time.

Separation or Divorce is a Complex Process

When a couple or individual decide that they need to separate, they are faced with many difficult issues. First, they have to deal with the responses that they, their partner and their children have to the separation. Then, there are all the practical issues demanding attention:

  • setting up separate residences
  • sorting out the money and property issues
  • making arrangements for the care of children.

As separation involves making changes to so many aspects of their lives, people find the journey to a new life, home and relationship very difficult. This is true even if the parties are amicable about the need for the separation and how they should address it.

Separation Booklets

Relationships Australia has published two free booklets to help men and women who are going through separation and divorce. The booklets have been written to:

  • help separating men and women make sense of their feelings
  • help guide them through some constructive choices
  • raise their awareness of some services that may help

Download the booklets now:

Women and Separation booklet (pdf)

Men and Separation booklet (pdf)

There is also a copy of the booklet, "Men and Separation", for migrant men, available in English and Arabic.

Migrant Men and Separation - English (pdf)

Migrant Men and Separation - Arabic (pdf)

Support Services

Family Dispute Resolution can help you make practical arrangements and decisions in your separation, especially around property settlements and the care of children.

Counselling can help you to be clear about the decision to separate or not, if you are not sure, or if you are having great difficulty coming to terms with the separation.

Relationship Skills Courses

If you need support and want to hear what other people do to cope with separation and divorce, a variety of Separation Courses are available. Some groups are for both men and women and some are single gender. These groups are valuable in helping the adjustment to being single and coming to terms with new relationships.

Further Information and Resources

• Parenting Plan: "Share the care - Collaborative parenting apart" (pdf)

This Relationships Australia Parenting Plan Booklet is a resource to help separating parents work out arrangements for the care for their children.

• Parenting Plan Checklist (pdf) - a checklist of questions that will help separating parents fill out the Parenting Plan.

• Quiz: What about the children?

• Quiz: Self-help Quiz for Separated Parents

• Family Separation: A Guide for Teens - advice for teens coping with separation, published by the Child Support Agency.