When the people find out I practice in Family Law, without fail they make the comment that it must be stressful.
The short answer, it is. Moving forward from a relationship breakdown is one of the most difficult things that clients go through. Having your relationship come to an end, for whatever reason, forces change on people. Change that hurts. Although some people are more willing to accept this change than others, no one feels nothing from closing a chapter of their life.
More often than not, when my clients come to me they are trying to face the fact that they need to rebuild their lives as the road that they thought they would be travelling on forever has come to a dead end. Getting off that path and trying to figure out where to go to next is a daunting thing to do. The legal process of finalising your Divorce is only one of the pieces of that puzzle.
So, I thought I would share my top three tips that in my experience as a Family Lawyer are helpful if you want to get through the legal process involved with your Divorce as unscathed as possible:
Tip 1 – It takes time
The reference of ‘ripping it off like a band aid’ unfortunately does not apply to family law cases. Depending on your circumstances, it could take a couple of months, or it could take a couple of years. Either way, it needs to be done and it will take time. Try and be patient and think long term when making decisions. In most cases, the quick fix is only going to lead to unnecessary heartache later.
Tip 2 – Get the support you need
You will need support. Again, depending on your circumstances, the type and amount of support will vary. But you will need it. Do not try to convince yourself that you don’t (and if you are already telling yourself this, it’s time to change your mindset!).
The stress of dealing with the legal process around your Divorce is like holding a glass of water. The longer you hold it, the heavier it gets (even though you are not putting anything more in it!). I suggest that my clients get some form of counselling for their own emotional wellbeing. Speaking with friends and family is a very different type of support (although still very much needed). But speaking with a psychologist/counsellor who has the skills necessary to help you start to put together a tool kit to protect your mental health and to prepare you for your future is a must.
Thankfully there are a number of rebate/cost minimising options to help with the costs of accessing this support. Make sure you discuss this with your doctor and/or private health provider.
Tip 3 – Choose your battles wisely
Conflict is going to be a given and will be out of your control. What you can do, is take charge of how you deal with situations when they arise. Get advice from an experienced Family Lawyer to help you put arrangements in place to minimise conflict occurring. Chances are, after dealing with copious amounts of Divorces, they have managed to pick up a trick or two along the way. Listen to your advice, try not to have an emotional reaction to things.
Stop, breathe and think. There is a saying floating around the land of social media that says ‘dance like no one is watching, text and email like it will be read in Court someday’. If I had $10 for every time one text message sent in the heat of the moment has completely changed the direction of a family court case, I would be sitting on a tropical island somewhere (instead of writing this blog article).
Do not get caught up in your emotions and let them influence your actions, choose the matters that you push back on wisely. Take two seconds to ask yourself “Is this something that is really important to the needs of my children or my future? Or am I just being this way because of how I am feeling?”
The above tips are not a comprehensive list of what you will need to do over the course of your legal matter, but in my view, it’s a good place to start. If you would like to discuss more of what is involved in making your family law matter as painless as possible, then give me a call on 4724 3910.
At Shuttleworth Legal we do our very best to make sure that you are put at ease regarding the legal process surrounding your Divorce from the moment you call or come to our office.