The three most impor­tant things you should do when first separating

In brief — What to do when you’ve just separated

The three most impor­tant things to do are see a fam­i­ly lawyer, look after your­self and keep com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your spouse friendly.

See a lawyer

Make an appoint­ment to see a fam­i­ly lawyer. The best way to get the answers that you need is to speak to a pro­fes­sion­al who resolves these issues every day. The ear­li­er you are aware of your legal rights, enti­tle­ments and respon­si­bil­i­ties, the soon­er you will be able to reach a fair and rea­son­able agree­ment with your spouse. Impor­tant­ly, nev­er sign any agree­ments with your spouse with­out seek­ing advice from a lawyer.

Look after yourself

Sep­a­ra­tion is an extreme­ly stress­ful time and you must look after your phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al well­be­ing in order to be able to make deci­sions about your future and the future of your chil­dren. It is rec­om­mend­ed that you sur­round your­self with a pos­i­tive net­work of friends, engage a coun­sel­lor to assist with strate­gies for mov­ing on and make sure that you eat prop­er­ly and exer­cise reg­u­lar­ly. Most impor­tant­ly, take the time to con­sid­er what it is that you want from your future and then work towards those goals.

Keep com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your spouse friendly

Keep the chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open and respect­ful with your spouse. The more that you and your spouse can dis­cuss the issues that need to be resolved, the more like­ly it is that you will be able to reach an ami­ca­ble set­tle­ment soon­er. Even though you may be hurt or angry, do not make emp­ty threats or say things that you may regret lat­er. These types of behav­iours serve no ben­e­fit to you and in fact make the sep­a­ra­tion process longer, more dif­fi­cult and more expen­sive than is necessary.