Our culture leads us to believe that marriage - or at least a committed, long-term relationship - is the norm. Once we've settled down our real life begins and we live 'happily ever after'. The truth, of course, is that not all marriages or relationships last. In fact, statistics show that the divorce rate is gradually increasing.
If you and your partner decide to go your separate ways, it's important to make sure that the separation is handled and managed properly with expert help as divorce a major change for all involved. That's particularly true if you have young or adult children. Even if you don't, a painful or messy break-up can affect you adversely in so many ways. It can rock your self-esteem. It can destroy your confidence or faith in future relationships and even in life. It can leave you with repetitive feelings, thoughts and stuck emotions that make it hard to move on. Plus, saying goodbye to someone you once loved can be devastating, even if that lovehas evolved or is no more.
In addition, divorce can be financially very costly. It’s usual that if there was a lot of conflict during the relationship, separation and divorce will be equally full of conflict. Unresolved issues that break a relationship then flow over into divorce. And the issues or conflict is expensive: in going to court to resolve parenting and property settlement disputes, each partner will have to engage solicitors, barristers and eventually end up in family court, which has a waiting period of 6 months between appearances. Meanwhile, every conflict or disagreement is then aired out via a letter from your solicitor to the other party (your previous spouse or partner). And every letter, phone call, negotiation on issue to do with property settlement, children and your future, are billable hours for the solicitor. The average cost of a contested divorce in Australia is currently $90,000.
The Family Court of Australia is currently backed up and filled with separating families and in our experience as Family Counsellors, not one single client has been happy with the outcome. That does not come as a surprise. The legal system is inadequate in dealing with matters to do with emotional loss and heartbreak, and all the practical, emotional and legal complications inherent in the splitting up of a family.
No matter whether you are the partner that initiated divorce or the partner that did not want the marriage to end, the reality of divorce is that it's often a complex process. It takes time to address. It can feel very different to one partner than to the other. Divorce is also followed by an unavoidable - and painful - time of adjustment.
Divorce is an emotional crisis with wide financial and legal implications. The painful feelings that divorce and separation create run deep, and it’s extremely difficult to get through this time without support. This is particularly so when you are also trying to make life decisions for yourself and your children.
How Divorce Counselling Helps
Many people turn to counselling when they are going through divorce. Moving forward without your spouse can seem confusing and difficult, especially if you've been married a long time. Finding a "new normal" is part of what can be accomplished through counselling.
It is important to seek a Counsellor that possess specialist training and qualifications in separation and divorce counselling, with up to date knowledge of Family Law as it will go a long way into saving you unnecessary costs.
Exploring the practical and emotional aspects of what you are going through, in counselling, can help ensure that all the changes and family restructuring happen more smoothly and with minimal negative impact on children. Counselling can be a time to pause and look at what is happening and its effects on you and your family. Family therapy, couples counselling and/or individual counselling, give you and your children space and time to be heard, make sense and prepare for your next phase in life. The whole family has a voice and can express how things are for them, knowing that their feelings and views are heard, respected and valid.
In divorce counselling you can also explore:
- Your feelings; divorce is often a time of emotional turmoil and uncertainty. Divorce can activate many intense, sometimes conflicting feelings, of guilt, anger, even shame.
- A loss of identity: you may wonder who you are, now that you are no longer someone’s husband or wife.
- Your ‘lovableness’: you may have feelings of being rejected and abandoned which cause you to doubt your lovableness and self-worth.
- Conflicts due to the divorce: depending on the partners involved, this can be a period of great conflict. There may be issues over property settlement and children.
- Things done or said in anger or distress. Acknowledging events and if appropiate apologising will help plant the seed of healing.
Solutions to family issues, particularly emotional problems involving the children, need to be worked out as a family. However difficult, it’s far better to do this in counselling, rather than allow the matter to be dragged through the lengthy and unsatisfactory business of family courts.
In family court there are no emotional solutions; there is only long-term conflict for a family. Don’t allow things to go this far. Seeking professional help from a counsellor costs less - less time, less emotional disturbance and in the long run, far less money.
As Counselling professionals trained in helping couples Divorce, we create an equal alliance with both partners. We are proactive in our approach and maintain professional relationships with certain Family lawyers working towards consent orders (mutually agreed by partners).