In recent times, divorce and separation have affected many people in our community. Based on recent figures, one in three first marriages end in divorce with divorced persons in Australia increasing by 63% between 1990 and 2000*. This is clear evidence of the ongoing transitions people experience in their relationships.
Divorce can be stressful emotionally and financially. It is important that you consider the financial implications and prepare for the entire process.
*Source: Australian Business Statistics 2001 Census
Things to consider
Don't work through it alone. Divorce is a huge decision and will certainly change your life, your spouse's and the lives of any children involved. Consult a professional mediator such a family dispute resolutions practitioner and/or an attorney to help you through the proceedings. Most importantly, be sure to have a support network around you. This will be a tough and challenging time and you will need the support of your friends, family and perhaps support groups and professionals who are familiar with what you are going through in this difficult situation.
Prepare yourself emotionally. When going through the process you may go through a range of emotions. This is normal in such a significant transition in life so, be prepared to work through these emotions and reach out for support to help you through this time. The reality of being alone can be awfully scary and lonely, especially if you have been with your spouse for many years or if you are stepping into single parenthood for the first time. Confronting reality is a big task so, prepare yourself emotionally.
Understand the financial implications. Consider how you will support yourself and your children after the divorce. Decide how you will manage the expenses of the divorce process. Through the mediation discussions, filing fees to the federal magistrates, court appearances and lawyers' fees, expenses will add up quickly. Knowing and understanding the costs and implications ahead will reduce unexpected surprises.
Taking care of your children. In the divorce process, children can suffer as much if not more emotional turmoil as the parents. Custody is tough conversation and process that you will experience. Write down a parenting plan that both you and your spouse agree to avoid disputes and arguments in the future.
Get legal advice. Divorce is a legal termination of marriage and requires the family law courts to grant a divorce order for it to become final. There are requirements you must meet in order to be granted this order, so be sure to seek legal advice before deciding what you want to do. Once the marriage has been legally ended by the court, you will also need to determine the division of assets and custody of children where you may require further legal proceedings. These proceedings may be contentious and its advisable to seek the help of a mediator or lawyer in order to arrive at an agreement in a timely manner.
Some helpful resources
The Family Law Courts of Australia provides guidance and information on legal issues around separation, when, where and how to get a divorce, taking you through a basic step by step divorce guide.
Relationships Australia provides you with a multitude of tools to manage and deal with separation as well as, how to work at it if were looking to reconcile your marriage.
I-dont is a directory of service providers to help you through this challenging times.
Dads in distress (DIDS) is a support community group to assist Dads who have gone through divorce.
Call us on 0400 955 980 for an appointment to discuss how we can work towards your financial and lifestyle needs during this important stage in your life.