Steps to Help Separating Couples Move On

Posted: Sunday January 21 2018

By: Vanessa Fox

Starting Again – Four Steps to Help Separating Couples Move On

January can be a time for new beginnings, new resolutions – and a new life which can entail stepping into the unknown.

As a family lawyer, I am often asked if January is a busy time for clients seeking a divorce. In my extensive experience it isn’t as busy as September, which is also symbolic of starting over as the new school term gets underway.

I personally don’t find a focus on “Divorce Day” (a label given by the media for the first working Monday after New Year) helpful or appropriate as such phrases make light of the hurt and heartache caused by relationship breakdowns.

January can, however, be a good time to look at our lives more objectively and to draw up a list of resolutions. These often entail spending more time with spouses and family before spouses and family decide to spend time with someone else – and sadly these resolutions can come too late.

If you are in the upsetting position of considering a separation, then it is useful to look at the following options:

  1. Consider couples counselling or counselling just for you.

    This is useful as it helps focus the mind on any issues there may be, and whether the problems can be resolved to prevent a separation. If your partner isn’t willing to undertake counselling with you, it is often very useful to attend counselling yourself. This can really help you look at the issues with trained help; consider what can be done about them, and how you would feel if a separation occurred.

  2. Obtain financial advice from a financial advisor.

    This can help you examine all the options if you do separate, and the affordability of each option. It will also equip you with information so that you can consider with your partner what would happen if the relationship came to an end. A good financial advisor can look at mortgage options for each of you along with what to do with pensions and other assets.

  3. Go and see a family lawyer.

    There is no need to start any process at this point. You will simply be acquiring information about your rights and the legal options available to you. At a first meeting, family lawyers can offer helpful suggestions that can make a radical difference to clients’ incomes at least.

    As well as discussing all the different ways in which an agreement on all issues could be reached on separation, we can look at any medical evidence we might need to progress your case along with mortgage advice and financial advice on pensions and how to obtain documents that might help.

  4. Consider all options for a process if you feel that separation is the only way forward.

    I much prefer the collaborative family process which enables my clients to finalise all their issues with their lawyers in the same room – advising and assisting both of them to reach an agreed outcome. My clients have control of the process and what and when steps are taken.

    I work with many family lawyers, financial advisors and life coaches across the UK in making life easier during what can be a difficult time.

I have been through a marital breakdown myself, worked full time as a single parent, and understand the stresses that this lifestyle can bring. The important thing is that each of us going through this time put the welfare of our children first and make sure they are affected as little as possible by a family breakdown. The end of a relationship does not have to be a disaster for children, who with the support of loving parents, are very resilient to change.