Being a couple in the middle of a divorce is difficult at any time. The issues include having to share access to your children, the costs of running two households instead of one and the emotional decisions involved in moving forward. If life isn’t hard enough, and now the world is dealing with the consequences of Covid19. This crisis has already changed many lives. Concern and uncertainty around things like, employment, the duration of the virus, essential travel and what that means, easing stress on children, and so on.
What is a couple to do? Being separated just adds another level of complexity for ex-couples. But desperate times calls for desperate yet much needed measures.
This is an example of how one couple have worked together and put their family needs first. Now we realise this may not be the answer for every couple but a suggest of how others are coping.
Robert and Jill were married for 12 years and have a seven-year-old son. Four months ago the couple separated and Robert moved out of the family home. The couple share custody of their son and are committed to his best interest.
Three weeks ago, they decide if the country went into lockdown there was too much uncertainty around access to their son and the risk was disheartening. ‘If the government lock us down like what has occurred to the people in Italy, one of us may not be able to see our son’ said Jill. ‘Then what if we loose our jobs, the expenses of running two household was stressing us out.’
Even though their separation has been difficult and communication tough, they decided that neither one of them, wanted to take the risk of not seeing their son for weeks leading to months. The uncertainty is too much at a moment like this. It feels like a game of Russian roulette and they are not prepared to miss out on seeing their son.
The couple has now moved back in together. It wasn’t an easy move but it was what was best for them. The thought that they could support each other What’s important is that, they pre planed and decided on how things are going to work out between them.
Jill has stayed in her room, Robert is in the spare room. Jill has the lounge room and Robert has converted the garage into a temporary ‘men’s shed’.
In regards to responsibility for their son, they have remained the same. Jill looks after him 50% of the time and Robert the other 50%. They spend time with their son just as they would if they were separated. The person who normally would care for him cooks his dinner and plays with him etc.
They take turns in using the kitchen.
They know that if one of them loose their job the other is there to support till the storm ends. They are showing an example of understanding and how kindness matters. You may have your differences, and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you have to like the person to work with the person for your best interests.
This leads me to add in a few tips for anyone who may face a similar situation at home;
Try to compromise just like how you would be expected during your divorce process.
Keep your distance, and know each other’s weaknesses. This way you don’t fall into a trap of misery and eternal arguments. It gives you the space you wanted in the first place.
Look at the best interest of your children, they may need your company the most at this time.
Keep yourself occupied doing the things you love, your hobby at home, or chatting with your friends or working from home. You will not be burdened with time to check up on what your ex is up to.
Keep things organized and work on a schedule so that it doesn’t coincide with your ex partners’ and you both don’t put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Take care of yourself, meditate and exercise so you are in a good mood.
When life throws you lemons, sometimes you just have to learn to make a lemonade. Till the waves die down and the storm ends, hang in there. Your stronger than you think.
Top Five Tips On How To Beat The Blues This Valentine’s Day
Let’s face it, Valentine’s day can be an emotional roller coaster for some, depending on your Facebook relationship status. Many argue it has been hijacked and commercialised by businesses to make money. Others argue it is a way of showing love, appreciation and respect for the one you love. For those of us not in a relationship, it can highlight and ‘rub salt’ into the wound of failed affairs. The question is how can one day have so much influence over our emotions?
While 5% of our conscious mind understands how ludicrous this seems, 95% of our subconscious mind is emotionally searching for ways to feel good about the whole situation. Therefore, no matter what you tell yourself, you still feel lousy. The feelings of loneliness, failure, and not being good enough are amplified even though I’m sure you already know this, but it is just another day and you are perfect just the way you are!
Sooner or later, we all realise that allowing someone else to have power over our happiness, is like driving a car from the back seat. You are powerless to control your destination. And you may or may not have already noticed but happy people don’t need others to feel good about themselves or their emotional state.
The reality is, if you find yourself in this situation on Valentine’s Day, you will need to work through your own feelings and emotions. No one can do that for you. Here are my top five tips which hopefully will help.
Keep away from social media
Do not stalk your ex on Facebook or Instagram hoping to see them sad and lonely. It’s not going to happen. Also, avoiding your feeds, which may compound the anxiety of seeing friends and family having a great time, while you lay on the couch. Research has proven that users have a distorted view of ‘friends’ lives because we interpret things differently. Comparing yourself to others has been proven to amplify negative feelings. Your job right now is to feel great, not gloomy.
Why not pamper yourself?
Yes, go ahead and pamper yourself. After all, you know exactly what makes you happy. Use it to your advantage and redeem the offers, promotions to indulge on your needs. If you’ve got your ex a gift, return it and spend the money on yourself. Let this Valentine’s day be a day to LOVE YOURSELF.
Spend some time with your friends and family.
They can always put a smile on your face and having a laugh is the best medicine. Not to mention how friendships reduce stress and boost happiness. Life is to short to be by yourself why not have a night out, karaoke singalong, or belly laugh at the comedy festival. Like the well-known hit single by Cyndi Lauper state “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, and so to the blokes, so just do it!
Read a book and get lost in it.
If you’re not an adrenaline junkie and you cherish your alone time, what more can I say than, I hear you. There is a time for everything. Knowledge is a great superpower and no one can ever take it away from you. Why not read a biography of someone that inspires you, or learn something that will add value to your life. Download an audiobook and a great resource I share with my clients is Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. Read the novels you love and get lost in their world so you don’t leave room for your mind to wander. This is your time, spend it wisely.
Start planning your future.
Studies have proven that long term goal setting does not work. But on the contrary, a 90-day plan can get you excited, especially because you start seeing momentum quickly. There is nothing wrong with daydreaming about a better life but action will get you outcomes. Ask yourself, what do you want out of life? Where do you see yourself in the near future and how can you achieve it?
And here is a bonus tip, If I told you the instructions for your life are on the outside of the box you live in, would you find a way to read them or stay locked inside?
Instead of worrying about others this Valentine’s Day why not show yourself a good time. Be kind, be caring, and treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Happiness starts on the inside and it is the greatest gift you can give yourself, now and always.
Are you considering, when is the right time to leave my marriage? It is such a difficult question. The consequences are life-changing and scary. It’s not something you decide overnight. It’s usually something you have contemplated for years, weighing up the pros and cons. Researchers say the person who is choosing to leave the relationship has typically thought about it for up to two years. The greatest struggle of all is when you should be happy, and you aren’t. People looking in think you have a great life, but no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.
It’s not like you wake up one-morning thinking, I’m out of here. These feelings have most probably kept you awake at night.
To leave takes a lot of courage. And research has shown up to five years to get back on your feet financially. So it’s not something to be decided lightly.
I personally struggled with the decision for years. I had fallen out of love with my ex-husband and felt very unhappy. I didn’t dare to leave. Looking back now, the reasons that kept me in that relationship seemed massive at the time. My children, not letting others down, and I ultimately did not want to hurt him. He was a nice person.
When we marry our other halves, we do so with hopes, dreams and aspirations of a glorious future and hope it will last forever. So to say to someone you once loved, ‘I don’t love you anymore.’ ‘This relationship is over’ or ‘ I’m leaving’ is life-changing for everyone involved. The words don’t come easy. It’s not something that anyone does without a whole lot of soul-searching.
Left and right brain thinkers
We, as humans, make decisions differently. That’s what makes the world go round, right? There is the concept that our brains have two hemispheres which allow us to make decisions. While this continues to be debated by researchers and doctors. I have witnessed this first hand with a close friend having a massive stroke. Doctors said he would be a vegetable if he survived. After coming out of a comma, he amazed doctors. They later stated that because one side of his brain was more dominant and it was the opposite to most of us, he would live with the consequence but is still able to communicate and make his own decisions.
Left side thinkers are goal oriented people, well-organised and analytical. Rarely absent-minded and logical. I think the best way to describe them; they like to plan. Left side thinkers typically have careers such as Doctors, Lawyers, Financial Advisors and Project Managers.
Right side thinkers are more impulsive and emotional, yet they’re creative and quite artistic. They can be very intuitive and a touch psychic. They typically have careers in the arts, music and love the earth and stars.
Now if you are a left side thinker and considering leaving your marriage.
You will want to manage and plan as much as possible. Leaving little to chance. Probably have a spreadsheet, a budget and trying to answer as many questions as possible before even considering having a conversation with your partner. A right side thinker is more likely to consider the emotions of the situation and how to mitigate the painful consequences for everyone. They will dream of a better life and believe things will turn out because they are a good person. Not because they have taken actions to get the outcome they want. The opposite can also be true if they have had enough of their unhappiness and one more argument will be enough to make them react, instead, then think and considering the long game.
By no means am l saying this is the only way we make decisions as there are many more factors to be considered, such as upbringing, environment etc. But having this insight may help. So do you know what side of the brain you use for decision making? Now maybe start to use your other side to cover all ramifications being analytical and emotional.
What happens if you have no love left?
Sometimes you need to go through the motions and explore all possibilities, even if you know things won’t change. One of those options may be counselling, and you come to a decision together that the relationship is over. At least you will know you gave it one hundred percent.
On the other hand, you also know you tried everything possible to save your marriage. And can work together on a phased approach with the help and support of your counsellor. The therapist or counsellor can assist in mediating the pain and hurting felt on both sides, especially if communication is not great.
And this assists when you have a partner who you know will not accept the outcome.
Do you have a partner who will not take any responsibility or blame for the failure of the relationship? He/she will automatically put the blame back on you and say it’s all your fault.
If this is you, please know, it takes two people to have a happy relationship. Both people must take responsibility no matter how small, for happiness and the breakdown.
If you are living in this environment, it will be toxic; you will feel like swimming in Play-Doh. Moving your arms but getting nowhere! You will feel like you are fighting a losing battle. When you are in this type of relationship, you are usually the pleaser and do anything to keep the peace. This decision for you will be a long time coming.
When is the right time to leave my marriage?
When do you know that your relationship is no longer working and what are the signs to look out?
Lack of affection if you find yourself feeling unloved because your partner is no longer affectionate with you, there will be no emotional engagement. Do you know why they have withdrawn, or maybe this is you? Many people who break up will say, ‘I fell out of love some time ago’.
So let’s be honest the minimum requirement for a successful relationship is emotional engagement and the willingness to discuss feelings and communicating at the highest level. Rather than just ignoring the elephant in the room. Did you know, this is how we develop knowledge about our partner’s needs and wants, and emotional engagement is also how we maintain our intimacy.
So making sure our partner’s needs are met, including our own are the minimum requirements for an intimate relationship.
Are you at this stage in your relationship where you no longer even give a damn about winning an argument. Disagreeing is not worth the energy. Your relationship is at a critical stage where you don’t even care anymore. You’ve given up?
These reactions show that you are removed from the relationship. Researcher, John Gottman, found a lack of communication is always what sinks a healthy marriage. Effective conflict resolution and healthy arguing build skills and communicating and shows a sign of respect for each other.
If you are no longer able to resolve differences without causing injury to your partner, then you have a problem. To either agree to disagree, we need to be able to get to the bottom of a problem and address what went wrong, instead of letting resentment build.
As stated in the Book Men Are from Mars and Women are from Venus, differences are highlighted between the Sexes. When one partner no longer finds their spouse sexually attractive, then this can kill a relationship. Over time we still need to find our partners sexually attractive, and sex both expresses and reinforces the emotional bridge between the two so when a couple hasn’t had sex in a long period it usually is a reliable indicator that the emotional disengagement is advancing steadily.
It is yet another indicator that bond is rapidly eroding if not already in a terminal state.
Increased focus outside of the marriage.
When you no longer feel like rushing home, to see your partner. There’s an emptiness in your marriage, and you find yourself feeling lonely in the same room as your spouse.
People start looking for other activities to make them happy or feel fulfilled. It can be taking up a new sport, joining a new community group, it could simply be doing more with the kids or staying back at work.
And then we have the most significant indicator.
Preparing for single life.
When people are content, they sometimes let themselves go. It’s not uncommon for spouses who are initiating, leaving a relationship to stop and consider their appearance. So, in other words, lose weight. Botox and new clothes for women. Underwear for men; I’ve even heard stories of hair transplants for men.
They see these changes to increase their ability to start dating when their marriage is over.
Then there is the interest in refreshing or acquiring a career or even going back to school.
All of these indicators can show a person’s preparedness for a new beginning.
Understand the consequences, and I often get my clients to do an exercise. Reasons to stay in the marriage or reasons to leave. You need to have a minimum of 20 – 50 reasons under one of these statements. If they are even, you need to consider marriage counselling together as there is still hope for you to rebuild and maybe something else is going on in your life. Otherwise, you should have a list which will support your feelings and motives for the future.
When is the right time to leave my marriage, is a question only you can answer. Listen to your stomach and trust yourself. You know, deep down in your soul if things are not right and will never be right. At a basic level, your needs must be addressed to sustain a happy relationship. Consider counselling alone to help you with your decision making or if possible, together.
Many people want to know, How to choose the right divorce lawyer. In my business, like any industry, I see many gifted lawyers and some merely dreadful. Some do not care about their client; take their money, have big egos and do little work. And your job, as a newly separated individual, is to find a lawyer who fits on a scale from good to excellent. Otherwise, the consequences could be costly both emotionally and financially.
Before tackling this recruitment, you first need to understand, if and why you need a lawyer in the first place. As I highlighted in a recent blog, How To Get Divorced, a lot of people don’t understand the processes involved. So, put together your strategy, and then employ the people you need to help you execute successfully.
But when you decide that you do need the expertise of a professional, who do you employ?
There is also a lot of confusion around these different terms.
You might hear Solicitor, Lawyer, Barrister or Attorney. So which one do you need to help you? Are they all the same and do they have the same qualifications and abilities? Let me provide a brief explanation and the difference between the terms.
A lawyer is a person with a certificate to practice Law. This includes Solicitors, Attorneys, Barristers, Judges and Corporate Counsel.
Solicitor is a person who has a practising certificate but is not a Barrister or Judge.
Attorney is a term used in the US and is unusual to hear in Australia. However, an attorney, solicitor and lawyer effectively mean the same thing.
Barrister is a lawyer that passed the Bar Examination. They appear in Court on behalf of people and run technical arguments.
A Solicitor/Lawyer/Attorney ultimately can provide you with legal advice on your family law matter. You can give them instruction, and they can act on your behalf and negotiate for you, as your legal representative. They will also carry out admin tasks such as applications, writs, wills, correspondence, really anything pertaining to your case.
A Barrister is a person who has done further education and been mentored or worked under supervision for an additional period. They have expertise in dispute resolution and usually are a specialist in a specific area of the law. Simply put they cost more because they know more.
It is not uncommon to have a lawyer and a barrister if you go to court.
One will know the ins and outs of your case. The other would recognise the complications of the court. It is the barrister’s job to try and settle matters before they go to trial. However, in a small number of cases, this is unachievable, and the barrister will be required to assist in your hearing. How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer
So in most case, as soon as people hear the words divorce, they think COURT. That is not true. A form of legal mediation either in person or via correspondence is how most divorces get sorted. It is only when couples can’t agree that things get costly and out of hand. And that is why picking a great team of professionals around you, is so important and having a strategic plan and sticking to it.
I also say to my clients for every dollar we spend; I want to see a $3 – $5 return. So what does that mean?
Let me put this scenario forward. We need to go to court and hire a barrister, to represent our client. Costing on average $10,000.00 @ day lets say. Our major concern or the outcome we are fighting over is an additional $20,000.00 of assets. Making no sense what so ever to me. In this case, we are considering a spend of 2 – 1. So for every one dollar, we spend we may get $2 back. But the odds are against us.
Let’s weigh the reasons up:
Assuming we already have an agreement on the table which is extremely close to what the client is entitled to from their financial split. If we are considering $100’s of thousands in assets then $20K is a drop in the ocean, and why waste it. We already have a substantial settlement, and when weighing up the emotional cost of going to court, is it worth it?
If we are talking $100,000.00, then it is a different story but still makes no sense to go to court because we have limited funds and need every cent for the future. Here are the difficulties which need to be weighed up and why. No barrister or lawyer can 100% confirm you will get the outcome you want. They simply can’t say, if you spend $10K I will guarantee $20K via court. If they do RUN, their ego is running the show.
There are too many variables
You have no idea what the other side may say, the evidence they have at hand or what the judge will rule. To be honest, it is a gamble. What happens if the judge disagrees totally and not only do you lose the $10K cost for the barrister, for the day but also the $20K you are fighting to get. You are now worsted off than when you got up this morning. That $30K is gone, and you now need to regroup and consider your options. Either, go back to the initial proposal which was on the table. Or spend more money and go back to court again. At this stage, everything is getting out of hand.
But we are contemplating an utterly different conclusion if it costs $10K to go to court and we are arguing over a $70,000.00 discrepancy. The risk is worth the reward. That is a 7 to 1 return. ( Seven Dollars possibly received for every one dollar spent) Hopefully, now seeing the reasons a good lawyer is so important for a successful outcome. Firstly to negotiate on your behalf and secondly to help you stay level headed and realistic. Unfortunately, we hear so many stories of the opposite being true.
You need to decide as part of your strategy where you want this to lead. Do you know for sure your case will end up in court? Or are you both semi amicable and prepared to compromise.
How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer
People sometimes say l am looking for a BULLDOG to represent me. Right from the start, you are leading with aggression, and therefore l can assure you will end in that same position. And it will be extremely costly. The choice is yours but pick carefully. Selecting the opposite could get everything finished and finalised very quickly. If you find a lawyer who has the following traits:
For a successful outcome, you are looking for the following individual.
● A person who is a problem solver. ● Has a good repour with people. ● Is not afraid of compromise. ● Who is also a specialist in family law and not a generalist in all facets of law? ● You also need a person who is comfortable in court because you have no idea where this can lead and know you can rely upon their expertise is essential. As we learnt above not all lawyers like court and you may need a barrister. ● Also looking for a lawyer who is a team player and prepared to work with others. ● A person who is a problem solver.
Now let’s look at each area a little closer:
Has a good repour with people.
You want a person who talks English and does not try and baffle you with legal talk or speak over you. I recently had a person ring saying she was scared of her lawyer and felt bullied. She had told him how she felt, and he turned around and said ‘Well if you don’t like my style get someone else’. What a guy!
Listen to your gut as much as your mind and make sure you feel safe, heard and supported. The person has empathy and shows kindness, yet is knowledgable and firm when needed. In other words, has a ‘’Game Face.’’
Is not afraid of compromise.
If you have children this is especially a huge thing. The children’s needs should always come first including their safety and happiness. Also, just a fraction of common sense, as we discussed earlier with the dollar return. I encourage all my clients to consider the consequences and love it when the lawyers support me. It shows that they want what is best for the clients. And getting the proceedings finished as quickly as possible rather than prolonging and charging a higher fee. Occurring so regularly; it makes me sick. Why argue for the sake of arguing. The only reason is so the lawyer can charge their client for more time and get their billable hours up.
Who is also a specialist in family law and not a generalist in all facets of law?
I have spoken about this before, but you would not go to a GP if you needed heart surgery. The depth of knowledge and expertise required by the heart surgent is hours and hours of experience, learning and performing the operation. He/She sees all different kinds of hearts, big, small, faulty, enlarged; you name it they have seen them all. But if you went to a GP, they may have learnt the procedure in theory but never performed the life-saving operation.
No different to an inexperienced lawyer. Why spend your time working with a lawyer who does not know the ins and outs of the family law. Who has no previous experience debuting or negotiating on the one thing that could make all the difference to your life and future?
You also need a person who is comfortable in court because you have no idea where this can lead and know you can rely upon their expertise is essential.
Discussed Barristers earlier, this is if you need to get serious and go to trial. In a lot of cases, the word Court is thrown around to scare people. With 85% of cases being negotiated on the steps of court with the opposing side. No one wants to go to court; there are too many things out of your controlled.
Lawyer Hack Technique
If you do think you are going to court, a strategy I have used before is asking people who work in the court. Such as police, other lawyers and barristers, court staff and guards, who they think is the most well-regarded lawyer, solicitor, attorney in the building. Who do the judges or magistrates respect and think good at their craft? I then rang that lawyer and asked for his assistance. He agreed. The case he assisted with was heard and completed very quickly.
Also looking for a lawyer who is a team player and prepared to work with others.
This is extremely important when considering the complexity of your breakup. Especially if there is a lot of assets to divide. Recently my team came up against a young female lawyer, who for some reason, thought she needed to be rude and write aggressive correspondence. Unfortunately, she was far from perfect, but our lawyer was prepared to share our information to support both parties and get a better outcome for everyone involved. The problem was, she did not want to listen and said…’ What does this have to do with the case?’ This is a problem for her client because she was portraying herself as looking after his best interest, yet was not taking into consideration, issues, like refinancing of loans, capital gains tax implications, and so on. If you have assets especially investments and businesses, it is not as simple as dividing.
It required other professionals to be involved in helping achieve the best outcome.
In this case, our client walked away $400,000.00 better off. Why?? Because the other lawyer did not take into consideration a mountain of tax liabilities involved with dividing the family assets. Clapping hands for us, but it made me sad to think we were prepared to share our knowledge, but she did not want to listen. Not only did our clients, ex-husband get an undesirable outcome, he also paid double in legal fees for what l see as poor service. The problem is, he has no idea of these issues and either would you unless you knew the system.
Make sure the lawyer you pick is a team player and happy to work closely with other professionals for your best outcome and doesn’t allow their ego to get in the middle.
I have a downloadable e-book (Get a copy here) which l put together to assist further with this topic. It includes questions to ask when you are interviewing a prospective lawyer and other areas to be mindful of to help make the right choice and limit mistakes.
I would say 75% of people I speak with have no idea how to get divorced. And why should they? No one gets married thinking; one day they will break up and get divorced. Most folks believe after 12 months of being separated, they submit a document to the court. And then it’s all done, completed, finished. Unfortunately, for the majority of people who have a house, a car and kids, it is a lot more complicated than that. How to get divorced
The Legal Definition of Marriage
Upcounsel.com a trusted American site defies Marriage as the following. Legally speaking, marriage is a contract made in conjunction with the law. Where a free man and a free woman agree to engage to live with each other during their joint lives. In the union which ought to exist between husband and wife.
Validating a Marriage
To make a valid marriage, the parties must be able to contract and then be contracted and overall be willing to contract.
Pardon, you might say. So what does that mean:
A valid marriage is not seen as valid if the persons involved are not legally able to enter into a contract. This includes but not limited to; A person who is unable to decide due to mental capacity. A person under 18 years old,(if so they need the approval of their parents or guardians). The person is still married to someone else, or the person is closely related.
Generally, all people who are of sound mind, and above 18 years old, can contract marriage.
That is why after the ceremony is completed, both parties must sign the marriage certificate. They have just entered into a formal contract with each other and some would say god and the country they reside in.
If you think about getting married, the ceremony is such that those involved say vows to each other. Confirming their commitment and telling the celebrant that the couple loves and cares for each other. Because this is a binding contract in the eyes of the law and there is no getting out of it quickly. Or at least without the help of the courts.
How to get divorced
So why 12 months and not as soon as you have decided the marriage is over? Well, the court wants to make sure that your relationship is finished. And you haven’t made a mistake, therefore allowing enough time to consider your options and be sure. Being apart can sometimes rebuild relationships, and other times it just cements the decisions. A 12 month period indeed shows the court that there is no hope of the couple getting back together. The relationship is let’s say ‘ancient history’.
If you reconciled for three months or more, then the 12 month time period starts again.
So when does the 12 month period commence?
You need to both agree on the date that the marriage is over. This can be the date either one of you made the fact CLEAR to the other person. You can’t just use the time you thought about it ending, in your mind. You need to have verbally said the words to your partner. They need to be fully aware that the relationship is over and you are separating.
You can start the 12 months by still living in the same house, but specific criteria must be met. Such as sleeping in different rooms, not having holidays together, no sexual relationship, etc., Pretty much living separate lives under the same roof and being independent of each other. But both agreeing that is what is happening. These situations are rear but sometimes occur due to financial circumstances. And as a couple, you have no surplus money for one person to relocate or any family members for them to move in with. Therefore, there is no other alternative than selling the family home, and the couple split the proceeds, going their separate ways. How to get divorced.
If during your time apart, you reconcile for longer then three months then your date of separation will start again. I often see this with couples, who think they will give it a second try and get back together for six months only to realise they need to commence all over again. It can be frustrating, but it is better to be sure then to regret your decision, as the grass is not always green on the other side. How to get divorced
And like anything legally binding, to make it null and void is expensive.
Here in Australia and around the world to end a marriage, is far more complicated than just getting a divorce. Divorce is the legal term meaning the termination of a marriage by legal action, requiring a petition or complaint for divorce. To be honest, in my eyes the legal divorce piece of the process is in most cases the easy bit. The other stages which involve breaking up your finances, distributing assets, paying out debts and looking after the children, can be harrowing. Each of those areas is very emotional and due to that can be very costly. How to get divorced
If you are from middle Australia and you want to embark on a substantial piece of litigation, you have to put your house on the line.
This sentiment has been echoed by our current High commissioner to the UK when he was attorney-general George Brandis, who has written that “unless you are a millionaire or a pauper, the cost of going to court to protect your rights is beyond you”.
Now, this is the same all around the world, so the question I ask is why do people continue going down this track?
The answer is most people don’t know how to tackle this themselves. So let me walk you through the stages on how to get divorced.
The first stage How to get divorced
is making sure you and your partner agree on the date of separation and then 12 months and 1-day minimum, from that date, you can file your application for divorce. This can be filled in and submitted by your lawyer, or you can do it yourself online. Given I am all about saving money, it is not difficult to do if you have a basic knowledge of computing skills and you can then go through and tick the boxes and fill in the relevant information. I have attached a link to the Australia Divorce Kit here. The application is uploaded to the court portal, and you pay when you press submit.
Here in Australia if you are on a pension, you get a discounted rate. But be aware the person applying must be the person on a pension. So in other words, it can’t be a joint application or a sole application in the name of your partner.
In some case, you can do it together (joint application) and split the fee with your partner. If you have children, this is the best way; otherwise, you will need to attend the court hearing to confirm the children are well cared for. But, please don’t worry, if you are not amicable. You can still make a sole application in your name. It just means you will need to attend court at a later date to confirm with the magistrate you have an agreement in regards to the children and they are safe and happy.
Whoever investigates or submits the divorce application will need to pay the fee to the court. If you are doing it yourself, it is around $900.00, if you are on a pension then $300.00.
Stage Two, How to get divorced
Once submitted, if it is not a joint application, your ex-spouse will need to be served the documents on your ex, and they are called the respondent. So how can you serve your spouse? Please watch this video which explains in detail.
This whole process so far will take between 6 – 8 weeks depending on the workload of the court and confirming you have filled everything in correctly and served the documents.
Just remember you don’t need to serve the documents on your spouse if it is a joint application.
Now I want to take a moment to touch on the court. l am sure like most people who have made a sole application the thought of going to court alone, sends shivers down your spine. The word Court can be intimidating. It implies having done something wrong, breaking the law, being in trouble. And if you haven’t gone through enough, having the strength to face a judge, will send you weak at the knees. But please trust me when l say, it is not that bad. The court and its staff, see people like you every day and understand that you are outside of your comfort zone. You are only there to confirm the children are being cared for appropriately and there are no problems….isn’t that what you want from a system. To protect the well being of your kids?
Stage Three, How to get divorced
You will receive a date and time in the mail confirming your divorce decree hearing. If you don’t need to attend, then it is usually a straight forward tick and flick by the magistrate. If you do need to attend then questions may be asked of you, no more then 5 – 10 minutes and then you are done.
Stage Four, How to get divorced
One month and one day later by mail, you will both receive in writing, confirmation your marriage contract is now absolute and dissolved. The agreement with your ex is now over. You then have the choice to have a divorce party, or if you are anything like me, cry with relief.
Below is a diagram which may help illustrate the different stages on how to get divorced and l also uploaded a podcast on this very topic, how to get divorced, listen here.
Have you sat there, with this feeling of worry? How the F&#k will I survive? Don’t know about you but l knew l needed to move on, it was time, nothing was going to change and if anything, l felt like l had tossed the situation around in my mind for that long, it was exhausting. I was tired, and every day I became increasingly bitter at what my life had become. Was l doing the right thing? Could l fall back in love after everything had been said and done? Maybe l could live in this loveless marriage for the kids? Could I settle for a life which no longer fulfilled me? I continually came up with a reason why I had to stay, yet my stomach and soul told me something different. There was no way l could continue to ignore what l felt, it was affecting my health. Then when you return to reality, the concept of breaking everything up and finalising your relationship feels like a climb to the top of Mount Everest. The mammoth task seems unattainable and the vision of one day being happy again insurmountable. Looking back, l now realise that every marathon starts with a single step! One step at a time and before you know it, you are halfway there. The pain and agony, lessening as the finish line comes into view. The hopes and dreams of a life where the fighting stops and the negative feelings have disappeared, all of sudden encompass you as your partner walks through the door. The kids leave the room as they feel the loveless environment around them and the last thing they want is to witness the two people they love not talking or showing no pleasantries like they once did. The pain of this enough for them to retreat into their bedrooms where everything feels warm, inviting and safe.
‘Whatever you focus on, you will feel and experience at a stronger level’ Tony Robbins.
When you have run out of energy and the decision inevitable, realism hits you like a slap in the face. The apprehension is consuming as you comprehend the need to be self-sufficient if you continue down this path. However, the choice is easy. • Smiles over frowns. • Laughter over fighting. • Happiness over money. • Plans over dreams. Trusting that being on your own and whatever your inner person is telling you, will make everything all right. Trusting that you have the strength, to rebuild on your own. To rely on no one but you! This belief is like a superpower, and when the decision is made, there is no turning back. We need to put on our big girl undies and travel in the direction our dreams are taking us. The thought of one day being full filled and happy drawing us out of the quicksand, our life has become. Eight years on, l will not lie, there were doubts. Worrying late at night about how l would pay the bills and survive. How has this become my existence? What did l do to deserve this? When you change your thinking from Victim to Victor, doors start opening out. Opportunities you never thought possible. Events that would not have occurred if you had stayed because that was easier. Having the strength to leave a marriage and stepping up, to be in control of your future is so empowering. Having the belief that life can be better. Controlling your destiny and pushing yourself to become a person you were once scared of becoming. Here are my keys to survival: The number one issue for us all is Security. Both Emotional and Financial. • Taking control of your finances • Having goals and visions. • Believing in your decisions • Backing yourself • Forgiveness of past mistakes • Stepping outside of your comfort zone. • Willingness to learn. • Not being a victim. • Being true to yourself and finding a purpose. • Believing in your ability to do it yourself
The above is not in any order, but each of these has helped me to become the person l am today. My greatest lessons have come from failures. I now spending my time helping others deal with the complex process of divorce and teaching my clients the lessons others have made, to save them from any more sorrow and heartache. You will go through ebbs and flows of sorrow and happiness. This is normal. Just say strong and know that life will get better. I often refer to the ‘Life Stress Inventory’ and how both Divorce and Separation are two of the Top 3 Stresses in Life. There is a wonderful Ted Talk which may help you understand some of the key reasons why your marriage may have failed but also to understand the drivers to look for in your next relationship.
*Get old before you get married.
*Reliability – have your partner’s back
My future is so bright it makes me giddy with joy. Just because the love of your life was only for a short period rather than a lifetime, doesn’t mean that is wasn’t supposed to be. He/she may have been sent to teach you what you really want out of life and how to go about achieving it. So don’t be bitter but be thankful. Learn from the experience and grow as an individual. I promise life will one day be better, you just need to take it one day at a time.
Life is far too short to live with regret! Here’s to a life filled with possibilities, but first, you must believe in yourself and your vision for the future.