When separating from your partner, whether married or in a de facto relationship, mental well-being is a priority. Giving calm and considered thought to what you need to do, what comes first and what comes next will go a long way to coming through separation emotionally stable and financially secure. Preparing for separation will also ensure you consider the well-being of any children of the relationship.
Thankfully, you are not alone, and there are steps you can take to minimise the intensity of emotions after separation and allow you to leap into the next chapter of your life.
Our top 12 practical tips when separating from your partner
- Consider opening your own bank account, and separate these from your partner and any joint banking accounts you hold. If you do hold joint bank accounts, let the bank(s) know that you have separated. You may want to consider freezing joint bank accounts to ensure excessive funds are not withdrawn by your former partner. You should discuss the best options with your bank or your lawyer.
- If you have joint credit cards with your former partner, consider cancelling these so as to prevent any unexpected or excessive expenditure. Remember, debt incurred on a joint credit card will also be your liability.
- If you have any personal loans, advise the lending facility (for example, your bank) that you have separated. They will provide you with options to secure your financial situation.
- Advise your employer that you have separated. Many employers will be empathetic to your situation. If they are aware of your separation, and particularly where there may be family violence, they can discuss ways to help you through this period and keep you safe.
- Advise your doctor of your separation. Separation can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting. Seeking medical help when needed is paramount to your well-being.
- If you have children, advise the school of your separation. Discuss with the school about who will have care of the children, who will do drop-off/pickup etc. Let them know if there are any family violence issues and if there are any intervention orders in place.
- Consider setting up a new mobile phone and providing your new number only to trusted people. You can use this number to communicate with your lawyer, financial institutions, your employer, your doctor etc.
- Update important digital passwords; for example, banking, email, social media, MyGov, etc.
- If you have a Will or Power of Attorney, speak to a Wills and Estates lawyer about updating these documents. If you do not have them, you should consider getting them drafted.
- Are you renting or have a mortgage? If you’re renting, advise the landlord of your separation and request an update to your tenancy agreement. If you have a mortgage with your former partner, advise the lending facility (for example, your bank) you have separated.
- Update your superannuation binding death nomination. Most people will have nominated their spouse as the beneficiary to their death benefits and superannuation fund balance. These will often be a substantial sum of money, and your super fund can assist you in changing the details of the nominated beneficiary.
- Seek legal advice and get help from an experienced family lawyer. They will help you secure your financial future and make arrangements for the care of your children.
Our top 3 tips to take care of your wellbeing after separation
Being aware of your emotional reactions to events
No matter the reason for separation, it can make your world feel like it has been flipped upside down. Whilst it might not feel like it right now, this feeling is completely normal and to be expected when you are going through a large change in your life. Sometimes, we need to feel uncomfortable in order to properly process life events and to move on.
Feeling sad about the breakdown of your relationship allows you to grieve. Surround yourself with people who are okay with being a shoulder to cry on. During separation, you need to communicate how you are feeling with people who have the capacity and space to allow you to process emotions; people who make you feel safe in doing so.
Another emotion that commonly arises during separation is anger. When feelings of frustration arise, the energy it brings can be channelled into healthy and productive outlets. Physical exercise, such as going to the gym, a walk, running or even safely using a boxing bag (anything to get you outside into nature), has been proven to assist with wellbeing and overall health.
If you prefer, using a journal and documenting your emotions and thoughts can also be an extremely cathartic exercise, along with meditation. Both journaling and meditation can be practised no matter where or when uncomfortable emotions come to you.
Whilst it is important to know that the emotions you grapple with are normal, it is also vital to note that they are temporary; over time, their impact and intensity will continue to lessen.
Reach out to support services
One of the most fundamental ways you can care for yourself is to lean on the support mechanisms that are there for you. Your former spouse might not be available for support anymore, but there are many other resources that can assist in sharing the weight of your responsibilities and emotions.
Beyond friends and family (which you should certainly confide in if you can), discussing your separation with your doctor and other professionals can be important too.
If the intensity of your emotions becomes unbearable, it is particularly important to tell a medical professional. There are systems in place that are designed to give you what you need; support, safety, nurturing and care. The first step to accessing these systems is simply asking for help. There are places for you to turn to, and you are worthy of their care, support and advice.
📞 13 14 65 – Mental Health Triage
📞 13 11 14 – Lifeline
📞 1300 224 636 – Beyond Blue
Getting back on track
They may seem obvious, but there are some simple steps that can be taken to make life feel normal again.
Start with the basics; maintaining a routine that ensures you eat regularly, and get an adequate amount of sleep, can be a game changer for your wellbeing. Exercise is another straightforward step to take, which will assist in regulating your emotions.
After separation, it can be easy to be pessimistic, but viewing things in the best way possible can help you to move on much faster than if you are focusing on things which make you feel negative and resentful.
Remember that extreme emotions will not stay forever, but if they last for longer than you expected, there are people and systems around you that can help.
How can a family lawyer help?
If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail, you can book a free no obligation phone consultation with one of our lawyers. We assist separated couples across Australia with all aspects of separation and family law.
Booking a consultation
📞 Free call us on 1800 357 000
📧 Email us at email@example.com