There are many reasons why people separate, and not all separations lead to divorce.
But whether you’re taking time apart to work on things or you’re heading in the direction of divorce, there are some ways you can make your separation easier.
The right approach to separation (and avoiding some big no-nos) can help you repair your marriage or make an impending divorce easier.
Whatever your situation, we hope these separation tips help you separate amicably while you figure it all out.
Establish healthy boundaries
Once you’ve decided to separate, you need to determine how much contact you’re comfortable with and establish these boundaries early on.
Are you separating to have some time to yourself to think things through? Will staying in touch every day make it harder for you to clear your head? Do you need a trusted loved one or mediator to be the ‘middle man’?
Once you’ve agreed on the terms of your separation, you may like to seek legal advice and create a marriage separation agreement with a lawyer – particularly if kids and/or finances are involved.
Put the kids first
Separation can make a big impact on children’s lives, causing stress, confusion and sadness. It’s important to keep your kids’ wellbeing your top priority during this big change.
Relationship Counsellor Shirley Hussie explains, “It's not always parents separating that causes the psychological distress for children, but the way in which parents separate.”
Some things to remember when separating with kids include:
- Reassure them it’s not their fault and you both love them
- Try to maintain as much consistency in their routine as possible
- Protect them from any conflict between you and their other parent.
You can learn more about how to make separation easier on your children with our article Tips for Separating with Kids.
Keep the peace
Separation can stir up negative emotions like anger and resentment. But acting on these feelings with raised voices or abusive language can quickly turn your situation sour.
Communicate with your estranged partner as you would with a business partner by keeping things respectful and neutral.
If you find it hard to talk to your partner without getting upset, or your partner makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it might be a good idea to engage with a mediator to help you come to an agreement.
You can learn more about mediation in our article What is Mediation?
Embrace the change
This can be an upsetting and confusing time, but it can also be an opportunity. Separating can give you the space to check in with yourself and what you want in life. You might have more time to catch up with friends and family, pick up an old hobby, learn something new, and consider your future.
Try to make the best of the situation and embrace the opportunity to focus on yourself and your own self-growth. It can help to speak to a counsellor during this time, as this can allow you to explore any concerns you might have and support you to find solutions.
Seek professional support
RAQ offers a wide range of separation services for people going through separation or preparing to separate. From dispute resolution and mediation to counselling for individuals and couples, professional support can be a great option if you’re feeling stuck or having a hard time agreeing on things.
You can call 1300 364 277 to book an appointment or learn more about what services might be right for you.
If you believe you or your children are in immediate danger, please call 000.