Family Law

What To Do If You’re Thinking About Separating – A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you thinking about leaving your current relationship, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry you are not alone. We meet with people who are just thinking about separating all the time.

This step-by-step guide will help give you some clarity around what to do if you’re considering separation.

Step 1: Speak To A Family Lawyer

Talking with a family lawyer and getting the right advice early will give you clarity around your specific situation. In our experience, it can result in a much smoother separation, should you choose this path.  A lawyer will consider your options and give you an understanding of your legal rights as well as practical guidance tailored to your situation.

Step 2: Determine The Most Suitable Time To Go Ahead With The Separation

Your decision to separate can have a significant impact on your life as well as others’ (e.g. children). Thinking carefully about the timing of the separation is important and you don’t have to do it alone. You can consider:

– Discussing this with your lawyer

– Seeing a counsellor, whether it’s by yourself or as a couple, to try and see if you can work through your issues and not separate

– Researching stories online from other people who have been through separation via Google or groups on Facebook (but don’t rely on these as everyone’s situation is different!)

– Seeking guidance from a trusted friend or family member

Step 3: Decide What Is Most Important To You

Your children? Finances? Do you own a business? Or maybe staying in your home is what matters most.  One of the biggest mistakes we see is people getting bogged down in the small stuff and forgetting about what really matters to them.  Determine what is truly important to you and keep this top of mind if you do decide to go through with the separation.

When we meet with people who are thinking about separating or who have already separated, it is our top priority to help work this out.

Step 4: Have A Plan Before Talking To Your Partner

A wise person once said “All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination” and we couldn’t agree more!  Having a plan before speaking with your partner will give you confidence and a solid direction when having the conversation.

Some things you may want to consider include:

– Your living situation, finances, children, transport, family and your Will

– If you’ve shared your passwords etc. to your private accounts, think about changing them

– Your expectations as to how they may react

– Write a “script” or dot points of what you plan to say

– How do you communicate best with your partner? Can you both speak calmly in person, or would you be better off writing an email?

– Document your communications by saving emails, or if you speak in person, write a journal entry after each conversation

These are the types of issues that we can offer both legal and practical guidance about when you speak with us.

Step 5: Speak To Your Partner

This can no doubt be the most stressful part about a separation, but there are some simple steps you can take to try and achieve the best outcomes possible, including:

– Focus on keeping the relationship amicable

– Don’t place blame

– Discuss the terms of your separation in good faith

– Be honest with one another

– Remain calm. If the conversation gets heated, put it on hold and revisit later

– Don’t publicise your situation

– Don’t bad-mouth each other

Takeaway Point

If you are thinking about separating, then it is wise to seek advice from a family lawyer before speaking with your partner as it will give you a solid understanding of what to do and what will be involved if you do decide to separate.

At Martens Legal we aim to keep things as simple, conflict free and amicable as possible.

Would You Like Further Information?

If you want to discuss your possible separation with us, please contact us today or book an appointment online.



The information contained on this site is for general guidance only.  No person should act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information.  You should seek appropriate professional advice based on your particular circumstances.