In the New Year I will….

Alecia Connor, Associate

Yes it is coming to that time of year, we all start planning ahead and thinking about what we shall achieve in 2017 and beyond. For me losing those kilos that I have put on through my winter comfort eating seems to always feature on my new year’s resolution list.

For many people the New Year is a time to reflect on family and relationships. This can result in people committing to trying to make a relationship work, or alternatively to finally accepting the inevitable and parting ways. I know resolutions can often seem overwhelming and whilst I cannot give you any guidance on how to start the 5kg resolution, here are some tip s on other resolutions you may make:

I will separate, I need to move on

Build a Support Team – Making this decision can be the hardest step in the process. The first thing you need to do is to build a support team. This support team will consist of a range of people, obviously friends/family are the first people and often your best sounding board. You should also consider enlisting help from a counsellor or psychologist and engaging a solicitor.

Get legal advice – Who moves out of the house? Where will the children stay? How will the day to day expenses be paid? Unfortunately there is no set rule in regards to each of these questions. Each situation is different and therefore it is important that you get legal advice at an early stage.

I will legally formalise my property arrangements

If you have reached an agreement in regards to how you will divide your property, written it down on a piece of paper and both signed it, great. This is a good start however this should not be the end. This “agreement” does not protect you legally in any way.

If you purchase or acquire assets in the future and your ex decides they want some of that, then if your agreement is not formalised they may make a claim to it. By formalising this agreement in to either a consent order or a binding financial agreement it is unlikely that any future application to the court would be successful.

I will protect my children from this dispute

Consider your actions – Children can sometimes be affected in ways that parents do not even know. Consider how your children are being affected; are they witnessing hostility between yourself and your ex, are they being used as carrier pigeons for information between Mum and Dad, are they suffering as a result of your increased stress levels. Children are often more perceptive than we realise, be careful what they are exposed to.

Obtain assistance – Consider seeking some form of counselling for the children. This could be in the form of seeing a psychologist or counsellor who specifically deals with children, or alternatively attending family therapy in which a therapist works with all members of the family.

I will look after myself during this process

Your relationship has failed, but you are not a failure. Don’t punish yourself. Get counselling, take a break, don’t put pressure on yourself to resolve all of the issues right now, be realistic in your expectations. In the words of Michelle Obama “We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.”  You will get through it, but you need to look after yourself on the journey.

I wish you all the best for your 2017.