Common separation mistakes and how to avoid them

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By Watkins Tapsell.


Separation is never easy.

In any family law matter confidentiality and privacy are important, no-one wants other people knowing about the most intimate details of their relationships, especially their breakups. With emotions and tensions running high, private information suddenly can become available for friends and family and, in the worst case, the media.

While most people are familiar with the concept of separation and divorce, when faced with the reality of the situation, many let their emotions take over without properly understanding that when handled correctly, the process can run smoothly (and more pain-free).

Avoid these common mistakes when entering a separation from your partner:


  1. Steer clear of the courtroom

Aim to resolve your matters outside the courtroom. Although the Family Court has strict rules and guidelines prohibiting the publication of material that identifies parties to proceedings, it’s better to stay out of court. Not only is it expensive and time consuming, resolving your matters in the courtroom leaves less room for negotiation.


Settling your matter by way of confidential settlement conferences or mediation involves reaching a binding, private agreement at mediation. Appointing an experienced Family Lawyer to help with these proceedings will assist in ensuring a favourable outcome for all.


  1. Don’t overshare

Divorce is complicated, but openly venting your frustrations in a public forum can come back to bite you.

Anything you post on online, including social media, can be used as evidence in a family law proceeding.

If your ex-partner tries to draw you in by posting negative comments about you, do not retaliate. No response is the best response.


If your breakup is particularly painful and you are having difficulty with your emotions, we suggest taking a break from Facebook and other social media (perhaps even deactivate your accounts). Rather, find outlets by talking to a counsellor, health professional or close and trusted family and friends.


  1. Think before you react

Although it may be tempting to type an email or text to your ex venting your frustrations and emotions, resist the urge to send it.

Sending angry messages almost always results in a lengthy and damaging exchange – and all your emails and texts can later be used as evidence in your Family Law Matter.


Think before you text, if necessary write the message the day before and then re-read it or have a trusted friend or colleague read it before sending.

And if you still feel a burning desire to write the angry text or email, then write it and delete it!


  1. Choose your confidants wisely

The world is small and shrinking every day! As tempting as it may be to vent at that dinner party or after work drinks about your ex and your break-up – resist the urge.

You never know who is listening and you can never be sure how far the information will spread (and as with any game of Chinese Whispers – you never know what message will ultimately be delivered).


Choose a close circle of friends you trust and keep your thoughts to them. Make sure you are seeking professional help for your emotions from counsellors and the right legal advice from a qualified family law specialist.


For more information about keeping your break up private see our Blog Keeping Secrets from your Spouse in the Digital Age.

If you would like further information about family law or to speak to a family lawyer, please contact the Family Law Team at Watkins Tapsell.

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