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If you are wondering how to separate while protecting yourself and your child’s mental health, we have 5 mistakes you should avoid.

Massive amounts in legal costs are spent every day on separation and divorce. And while we may not be able to change the system, restructure the courts or make lawyers charge less, our own behaviour and choices can still have an impact on whether we achieve a positive outcome.

Here are 5 things couples get wrong when figuring out how to separate.

1. Choosing to act on hatred and anger

Humans are capable of amazing acts of kindness and generosity in support of each other. We’ve seen it play out in this pandemic. If individuals and couples choose kindness and forgiveness, rather than hatred, they could make good, informed decisions following separation.

Focus on our values, our morals, our behaviour and our choices, and act in a way that will project us on a positive pathway that will heal the family. Don’t choose a pathway that will end up destroying us even more.

In this video, psychologist Collett Smart teaches you how to release some of the pain that you are holding onto and stop being the victim. 

2. Playing the blame game and failing to take responsibility for their own choices

How many times have you heard a someone tell you a story about how horrible their ex-partner is behaving, how they will not agree to something they are asking for, are being greedy or nasty, or are fighting with them over the kids. 

How many times have you heard them say these things within earshot of their children?

Yes, you might be having a difficult time with your partner, but blaming them and even going to the extent of speaking badly of them to others—especially in front of your children—is only going to set you back. Accept the situation and move towards positive solutions. Do not look back and lay blame.

3. Seeking legal advice rather than legal information

Legal information is quite different to legal advice. You should seek information on how the process works, look at all the options you have available to you, and understand what it is that you need to be considering when looking at outcomes.

Know what it means when you are asked questions about your assets and liabilities and the options you might choose. Often, once couples have a better understanding and know how the process works, they don’t even need to get legal advice and can work things out themselves.

Read: Make sure you follow these money tips if you are facing divorce 

4. Choosing the wrong team

A lack of information will result in poor choices when establishing your support team. At a time when we should be looking for support and guidance, couples often choose lawyers and litigation. People often seek immediate legal advice, without even understanding what it is they are asking for. Sadly, rather than offer you advice on how the process works, lawyers can lead you on a pathway that results in acrimonious correspondence, negotiations and a litigious pathway. Talk to the right people.

5. Taking immediate and unnecessary action

Many couples go straight to lawyers to start a legal battle, transfer assets or withdraw money. We need to stop and think before we take any drastic action. Immediately after separation, when emotions are high, we are not in the right frame of mind to make effective, life-changing decisions. They will often just inflame the situation and have a long-term negative effect on the family and on our relationships.

How to separate peacefully

How to separate peacefully

The Bible speaks of doing to others what we would have them do to us. Often referred to as the Golden Rule, it’s one that really should be heeded during a difficult and emotional time such as separation and divorce.

By drawing on human strengths, morals, values, kindness, forgiveness and understanding, couples can truly follow a peaceful path after separation and achieve a positive outcome. This will result in a far better situation for both yourself and your children.

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