Separation and divorce

Separation and divorce are among the toughest experiences you will ever have.

Separation is complex and can involve intense feelings due to the many changes that can occur at this time, such as your:

  • relationship with your former partner
  • level of involvement with your children
  • family structure and previous routines
  • social networks
  • relationships with family members
  • identity
  • family home
  • dreams/future plans
  • financial security.

These changes can be particularly difficult to manage if you:

  • didn’t want the separation in the first place
  • didn’t anticipate the separation or the separation happened suddenly
  • are hoping the relationship can be fixed
  • have reduced or limited time with your children
  • have more responsibility for your children resulting in practical changes such as work commitments
  • feel betrayed by your former partner or worried about ongoing challenges
  • are concerned about the impacts of the separation on children
  • don’t have a support network or are ostracised by your friends, family and/or other people in the community
  • fear a future of living alone
  • fearful of making the same mistakes in another relationship
  • are concerned about the economic future of yourself and your children
  • are worried about parenting arrangements and the legal system.

It’s important to remember that everyone experiences divorce and separation differently. The way you feel, and the intensity of your emotions, will change over time. You may feel:

  • loneliness
  • sadness
  • shock
  • hurt
  • anger
  • guilt
  • overwhelmed
  • frustration
  • powerless
  • relief
  • excitement and optimism about your future.

These responses are all perfectly normal. The good news is that most people who face these intense feelings go on to live fulfilling and happy lives. Recovery takes time and it’s important to look after yourself.

If you need some extra support, here are some options that you may wish to consider:

Beyond Blue online forums is a safe and supportive environment to ask questions, share experiences and give and receive support from others who may be experiencing similar things.

Family Relationships Online provides information for all families – whether together or separated – about family relationship issues including services to assist families manage relationship issues including arrangements for children after separation.

Or you can call the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321

Relationships Australia also provides relationship support services for individuals and families across Australia including counselling and family dispute resolution (mediation).