Unfortunately the realitiy of our society is that many long-term relationships and marriages end in separation or divorce.
Handled badly separation however can affect you, your ex-partner, your children (if present), parents/grandparents and friends for the rest of your lives.
If there are financial assets, property or children involved you have a choice of two paths to take:
The Relationship Specialists work closely with Franklin Bell Family Lawyers, a specialist family law practice based on Sydney’s North Shore. ( http://www.franklinbell.com.au ).
If you are able to reach agreement then the combined costs including legal and mediation will cost you about $3,000 and can be implemented immediately.
Alternatively, if you decide to go to court, then the process could take approximately 18 months and you could expect to pay from $50,000 upwards for a 2 or 3 day hearing (usually covering only parenting or financial), or if combined expect to pay upwards from around $100,000 which would likely involve a 5 day hearing.
A court hearing however is an extremely stressful and confronting experience for all involved, including the chilldren. You can expect angst, unpleasantness and often recriminatory behaviour, leaving both parties very hurt and often very angry - leaving the children, who only want to love both parents - now finding themselves caught in the middle of a war zone.
The Format for an Agreement
There are basically 3 elements to an agreement - a Parenting Plan, a Communication Plan and a Financial Plan.
NorthSide Counselling and Franklin Bell will work with you to develop a plan that is fair, reasonable, and that has the children's best interests at heart.
Franklin Bell are dedicated exclusively to the practice of law in all areas arising out of the breakdown of married and defacto relationships. They have an expert knowledge of family law and a genuine interest in people.
The detail contained within the three plans is dependent on the level of co-operation you are able bring to the sessions, and whether you both believe that the other party will abide by the agreement after being signed off.
Children and Divorce
Research has shown that for children to grow up with a strong and healthy sense of self (self esteem), to have a positive and thoughtful demeanour, and a balanced and fair outlook on life, they need to feel loved and accepted for who they are, and to have their opinions heard and validated.
The early years (up to age 10), and then the teenage years, play a critical part in defining how as adults we can lead normal, functional lives and enjoy happy, thoughtful relationships.
Following divorce ensuring children achieve this outcome is even more critical, because they are far more vulnerable emotionally – they feel great anxiety and hurt, they are no longer in control of their own world, and often feel torn in trying to make everyone happy.
Why We Become Parents
As a parent, we initially have children because we “want kids”. It is an experience that makes us fulfilled. Parenting to most people is an innate driver that is just part of our human development.
The role of a parent however is quite different. It is our responsibility to raise happy and well balanced children … & to launch them into the world as independent beings when they are ready.
In the original family situation we are able to have our needs met as parents (being fulfilled), while bringing them up in readiness for them to step out into the world as adults.
Following divorce however everything changes. Often the two are not congruent anymore. If this is the case, then as adults we have to put our own needs second, and focus on what is best for the children.
Our children owe us nothing. However if we do a good job as parents by ensuring our children’s needs come first, then we will be fulfilled. This may not happen so much when they are at school as co-parenting requires us to be less selfish, but we will be rewarded in later years – which is when it really counts.
Therefore, following separation or divorce, it is paramount that we 1. understand, 2. acknowledge and 3. support our children in what they want.
Research from around the world supports that if a child is loved and supported, regardless of whether the parents are together or apart, they will grown up happy and healthy.
What I need from my mom and dad: A child’s list of wants
Source: University of Missouri