Katie Taft
Partner, Solicitor & Mediator
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Date Published:05 Dec 2016 Last Updated:23 Jul 2021

The “ABC’s” of Separation: What should I do when my marriage ends?

Family Law

A – Access support. Relationship breakdown is one of the most difficult times in your life and it is very important that you have the support of friends and family. In some situations, additional support may be required to help you through this very difficult time. Your first port of call will be your GP who can signpost you to further help and assistance.

B – Be proactive. Once you have allowed yourself time to come terms with the emotional upset of separating, take control of your situation. It is important to seek legal advice to consider what needs to be addressed such as:

Safety

  • Is there any risk of harm to you or your children?
  • Do you need to take steps to protect yourself?

Finances

  • How are your outgoings met?
  • Who pays money into the account each month and will they continue to do so?
  • Who can access any savings and investments you have? Do you need to take steps to protect these?
  • Understanding your finances. Do you need to start making enquiries to get a full picture of your financial situation?

Your home

  • Will you both continue to live at home? If not, who is going to move and when? Can this be afforded?
  • If you are not a legal owner of your home, do you need to take steps to protect your interest in the property?

C – Children. Consider very carefully the impact your separation will have on the children. Ensure that the children are protected from all of the adult issues until you are each in the right frame of mind to discuss it with them. Do not be derogatory about the other parent as this will only upset the children further. Consider the following, together, if possible:

  • How and when the children should be told;
  • What explanation should they be given? Children benefit from being given a consistent message by both parents;
  • Consider how you are going to parent the children moving forward, both in the short and long term. Children need to be told what is going to happen so that they feel reassured that their parents are in control despite this period of change;
  • Don’t over burden the children – young children should not be asked to decide who they want to live/ spend their time with. This decision should be made for them by their parents. Older children may express a view as to who they wish to live with or how they wish to spend their time.
  • However, the ultimate decision should lie with you as parents.
  • Shelter them from disagreements – ensure that any disagreements are discussed away from the children to avoid emotional harm to them;
  • Consider how your children might reflect on your divorce in 10 years. Will they say you handled it well as parents? Will your approach to the divorce impact their own view of relationships as they become adults?

Our experts at Ellis Jones have the necessary skills and knowledge to help guide you through every aspect of your separation. We have offices in London, Bournemouth, Ringwood, Swanage and Poole. For further information please contact our family team on 01202 636 223 or by email at family@ellisjones.co.uk