How to keep calm and carry on after one of you says: I want a divorce

By amica

How to keep calm and carry on after one of you says: I want a divorce

When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin famously ‘consciously uncoupled’, there were many comments about their choice of words but admiration too that they remained amicable in the face of separation.

The truth is that if both partners share an intention to be fair, the separation process can be far more straightforward than many people think.

amica is an online separation tool created for couples who want to understand what ‘fair’ looks like, and how to put children at the centre of future arrangements. amica’s director Gabrielle Canny offers the following advice for anyone who is going through a separation:

1. Understand that the first months after you separate can be a time of adjustment

Be kind to yourself as you get used to this ‘new normal’. If you have children, they will need age-appropriate information to help them understand what is happening. However, most importantly, let them know that they are loved and the changes they’re experiencing are not their fault.

2. Keep positive and focused on the future

It’s better to play the long game and see separation as a process and a pathway towards the future, rather than focus on ‘winning’.

Avoid criticising your ex-partner in front of your children or friends, it’s like asking them to take sides. Being positive (or at least neutral), can keep things calmer for everyone.

3. Anticipate sticking points and share information you find

Knowing your options, rights, and responsibilities will help you make better decisions. amica is a one-stop-shop for couples who are separating and includes information about free Legal Help in your local area. amica is neutral and independent and it can compare your situation to others like yours, so you can be confident that any suggestions amica provides are fair for both you and your ex-partner.

4. Look after yourself and get the right support

Separating can be a stressful and an emotional time so it’s important to take care of yourself and create a positive support network. This might include family and friends or professional support services (like Beyond Blue, Family Relationships Advice line, 1800 Respect, Men's Referral Service). Also remember that your ex may be emotional too, so be kind to each other if things start to feel wobbly. amica also has links to a range of support options.

5. Be realistic and seek to find a fair middle ground

A common mistake that many couples make is trying to score points or somehow ‘win’ against their partner. This approach typically takes longer, costs more financially and emotionally, and rarely ends well. If you set out to keep things amicable, you can agree on separation arrangements between the two of you, without involving a lawyer.

About amica

amica is a smart and simple online tool to guide separating couples through parenting, property and money decisions in an amicable way. It was designed by family lawyers to help guide separating couples through the process in an accurate, calm and fair way. It uses artificial intelligence which takes into account the length of the relationship, assets and earnings, age and health needs, contributions to the relationship, arrangements for taking care of children and future needs. It makes practical suggestions for parenting arrangements that suit your family situation. At the end of the process you can download a document that sets out what you’ve agreed.

Go to amica.gov.au.

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