Your relationship is breaking down

You may be only thinking of separating or have very recently separated. No matter the timing, you are most likely feeling paralysed emotionally and possibly overwhelmed financially about what your future will hold.

In what is probably one of the most difficult times in your life, people who are experiencing a relationship breakdown talk with family, friends and other professionals like doctors, psychologists, accountants, or financial planners to gather information and talk through their options. Others like to obtain immediate and accurate advice from a family lawyer to help them feel in control of their future.

When separating, couples need to work out plans to care for the children, divide assets and property and make ongoing financial arrangements. You may also need to negotiate international issues such as international assets or moving interstate or internationally.

Sometimes couples can make these plans without help. But for many, the emotional stress can make negotiation very difficult.

Whether you’re married, in a de facto relationship or a same sex relationship, you may need legal advice to help empower you with knowledge, so you can make the best decisions for you and your family’s future.

With knowledge of the law and the practical know-how to apply it, your Jones Mitchell family lawyer will work with you to identify the most appropriate approach to resolve your differences quickly – whether it is negotiation or specific alternate dispute resolution approaches such as mediation, arbitration, or early neutral evaluation; or in suitable cases a collaborative law approach. Only if necessary and when all other approaches are exhausted or inappropriate would we use our litigation experience and resources and go to court.

We will listen to your individual situation, and no matter how straight forward or complex,  navigate you through the maze of legal requirements of financial agreements, child support agreements, parenting plans, and divorce applications.

If conflict and emotions are high, you may find it more difficult to make important decisions and effectively problem solve. Children are particularly vulnerable and they can experience extreme stress if parents are unable to resolve conflict. During these times, we recommend you see a psychologist or relationships counsellor. Talk to your Jones Mitchell family lawyer if you would like a recommendation.

Case study – Michelle, 42, is separating

After a 16 year marriage, Michelle and her husband have decided to separate. With two primary school-aged children, Mary has been working two days a week since the children were at school. Still living separately in the same house, her husband is about to move into a small unit nearby. There is certainly some friction between them, but Michelle is trying hard to work together amicably to resolve the issues.

Referred by her GP to Jones Mitchell, Michelle was feeling the full force of this life-changing decision and is fearful of what the short-term holds for her, let alone her longer-term future. So many questions and scenarios whirled around her head. How will she pay her bills? Will she stay in the house? How should they tell the kids? Should she let him take the kids? What if he gets cross and doesn’t bring them back?

Michelle nervously met with a Jones Mitchell family lawyer as her husband moved out. She brought with her a list of questions that she had put together. With the help of this list, Jones Mitchell was able to identify the immediate issues such as access to money and child care arrangements, as well as some longer-term issues. Once the key issues were identified, Jones Mitchell was able to discuss options with Michelle so that she could make informed decisions. Together with her, they developed a clear plan for the short, medium and long-term. In the short-term, they developed a plan for seeing the children, as well as a holding pattern for access to money for day-to-day expenses.

After the initial shock, early advice from Jones Mitchell meant that Michelle felt empowered with the right knowledge about her rights and options that were fair for her, her children and her ex-partner. This gave Michelle greater control and enabled her to get through the issues with greater certainty.

If your relationship is breaking down and would like more information, visit our FAQs or contact us to speak with one of our experienced Jones Mitchell family lawyers.

Please note: Although this case study is based on a potentially real situation, it is hypothetical and is for illustrative purposes only. Every family law situation is unique. Consequently, our family law advice is tailored to each situation and individual outcomes will vary.