Selecting your process?

Selecting your process?

Recently Separated or Considering Separation? Where To Start

Something Has To Change

The mere idea or mention of separation can be stress-inducing, causing your stomach to knot up and keep you awake in the middle of the night.

But separation doesn’t have to be the end — it can be a positive and healthy change for all those involved.

Whether you have recently separated or are considering separation from a spouse, start with these six steps:

Get Support
Get Information
Assess Your Circumstances
Begin To Look Forward
Take It One Step at a Time
Choose Your Path

1. Get Support

Gather Your Team

Separation can be emotionally draining and, at times, feel like an out-of-control roller coaster.

For this reason, it’s essential that you have the support team that you need.

Your support team will help you navigate the ups and downs of your journey toward a healthier and happier future.

Your support team may be made up of both professionals (ie counsellors, doctors, lawyers etc) and/or friends and family.

Choose Your Support Team Wisely

While it’s important to lean on positive and supportive friends and family throughout your separation, it’s equally important to turn to professional counsellors for support and advice. These experts can help you process the complex emotions that often surface when grieving or adjusting to the loss of a significant relationship.

You’ll also want to look for legal professionals to help direct you through the separation process. Research what services they offer and find someone who’s the right fit for you and your journey. Lawyers have different rates, varying ways of conducting business, their own personalities, and practices that focus on particular areas of law.

Don’t Gather an Army for a Battle
if you want a peaceful process.

Ultimately, you don’t want to gather an army for a battle. If you want a peaceful separation process, your support team should exist to help you work through your own emotions and inform you of your next steps, not add fuel to the fire.

Your team should not be focused on revenge or harming your former spouse but rather on helping you move forward in your lives and when needed continue to co-parent your children.

2. Get Information

Document Everything

Start to gather information about yourself and your circumstances. For example, write down the dates of significant events in your relationship and some basic information about you and your family.

Research Potential Next Steps

This is the time to start looking at what the separation process may involve. Gather information from reputable resources about the pathways and options you have to complete your separation.

Gather Knowledge, but Don’t Drown in It

Becoming an expert about family law is not necessary to get yourself through a separation. While you can gather some basic information on the process, make sure you rely on reputable resources and have a lawyer explain how this information may apply to your circumstances.

3. Assess Your Circumstances

Determine What Needs Immediate Attention

Look at what’s going on in your life and start to prioritize what is most important.

Do you need to address some immediate financial issues?
How are you going to cover the bills for your home during the separation process?
How are you going to share your incomes while you sort through the larger issues?
Do you need to concentrate on finding a new place to live moving forward?
Or, do you need to figure out whether you would be able to manage to stay in the home you shared together?
What are the costs involved in either option?
Is your priority making short or long-term arrangements for your children?
How are you going to make decisions about the children until you have an Agreement?
What decisions do you need to make about their day to day care on a short term basis?
How are you going to share your time with the children while you sort through the larger plan?

Make Informed Decisions

Start to gather the information that can help you take your next steps.

For instance, what is the rental market like in your area?
Do you have options for short or long-term living arrangements with friends or family?
What are your budget needs going to be?
Or, what types of schedules are available to consider for parenting time of your children?
What may be best for them given their ages and stages of development?

You Don’t Need To Figure Everything Out Alone

Consider seeking the advice of a financial professional who is trained to assist people during a separation or divorce. You may also want to seek the help of a family professional to help you develop a plan for your children.

4. Begin To Look Forward

Create an End Goal

There are a lot of steps between deciding to separate and completing the separation process.

But no matter where you are on your journey, it’s important to know where you’re going. Otherwise, you may get lost along the way or not recognize when you’ve arrived.

Be Realistic

Rather than trying to find all the answers, you just need a general sense of what you want your life to look and feel like in a year or two from now.

Ask yourself a few helpful questions:

  • What kind of living arrangements would you like to have?
  • What would you like your financial circumstances to be?
  • What would you like to be able to do or have?
  • Do you need to have a relationship with your spouse moving forward (ie when children are involved)? If so, what do you want that to look like?
  • How do you want to feel about your separation when you look back on it in 5 years or 10 years?

5. Take it One Step at a Time

Don’t Focus on All the Details

If you look at the whole process at once, it can be overwhelming. It can be scary to think about getting from this moment in time to one where you’re separated.

Take It One Step at a Time

You don’t run a marathon in one leap — you take it slow and steady, one foot in front of the other. Look forward to where you’re going rather than concentrating on everything it’ll take to get you there.

Manage Your Tasks Effectively

Make a list of what you feel you need to do. Put it in order of your priorities and start scratching things off as you go.


6. Choose Your Path

Take Control of Your Future

What path do you want to take? What do you want your divorce story to be?

Choose the path forward that feels like it aligns with your values as a person.

Conflict resolution does not have to mean a court process or a battle. Instead, it can be a conversation with professionals supporting and guiding you forward to a positive resolution, where your family is in control of the outcome.

Make Sure Your Needs Are Being Met

Choose the path that gives you the level of support you need and leads you to a place where you’re moving forward toward the life you envision.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of relationship do I want to have with my former partner?
  • What do I want my children to see as our relationship?
  • How much do I want to be involved in the decisions that are made about how we divide our assets or share time with our children?
  • How much support do I need in a process to have my voice heard and meet my goals?

Shaping a Favourable Outcome for Your Family

At the end of the day, embracing the right separation process and support systems can positively impact you, your partner and your children. Get in touch with me now to select the resolution process that best supports your needs and goals.

Chantel Lawton

Chantel has been assisting clients with all of their Family Law needs since 2002. Her primary focus is on resolving disputes for families through Mediation and Collaborative Process. She provides additional services for families, including Estate Planning and Administration.