Separation and Divorce: Essential Steps

Staying? Going?

If this is your dilemma, you are on the right page.

Separation is never easy, and a decision to separate doesn’t happen over night. You have probably struggled with this idea for  a long time. You might have weighed up the benefits and the costs, and not been able to come up with the answer. Many people can’t make a decision until their children are of a certain age or stage, until some life event has happened, or until their financial situation is known or seems right. You might be one of those people who feel that their marriage is not good enough to stay, but is too good or too comfortable to leave. If that is how you feel, you are also likely to be feeling up and down, guilty, worried.

To clarify your thoughts, you may want some legal information, a meeting with a  counsellor, financial planner or a child psychologist, who helps people in your situation every day.

You may be interested in reading Chapter 1,  “Before the Break-up”   from “Breaking Up Without Breaking Down”, which you can purchase by following this link:

The next step is to  call my office on 9939 6383 to make an appointment with the right professional.

If you have already separated, you face many decisions.  One of the most important decisions you need to make is about how you will go about reaching settlement. Is yours going to be one of those awful, drawn out, bitter divorces? Or are you wanting help and information to protect yourself and your family from that? If you want to resolve your issues in the best way possible, thinking about your children, yourself and your finances (and maybe your spouse, even if you are not ready for that just yet) you will need to choose your advisors wisely.

There are ways to keep conflict low, save costs, stay out of court and ensure that you and your family are not irreparably damaged by separation.

You can read more about that in “You can have a ‘good’ divorce or a ‘bad’ divorce in the introduction to “Breaking Up Without Breaking Down” at:


To learn more about how you can have a civilised separation, call my office in Hawthorn on 9939 6383 to receive a MELCA divorce-without-court welcome pack, including a copy of the MELCA e-book, ‘Separation Survival Kit’.

After that?

When you have read the welcome pack and “Breaking Up Without Breaking Down”, you’ll know more about what you need to do, and what you are best to avoid doing. Then it’s time to  book an information meeting. You may attend that meeting alone or with your spouse, at a fixed fee of $550 including GST. If you are more comfortable attending the information meeting alone, you are most welcome to do that, but it is a real benefit for you to attend together.

What happens at the Information Meeting?

There are many variations on how you and your spouse can work towards agreements, and advice about those options is part of what you will learn in your information meeting. You will be given general legal information, and have the chance to ask questions. You may also choose a referral to a counsellor, to work individually or as a couple. You will be given information about child specialists who can help you talk to your children about your separation, about how to assure them they are loved, and are not to blame, and to prepare for all the sorts of questions your children are likely to ask you.

After your Information Meeting

If you have attended with your spouse, and one of you decides to appoint me as your peace-making lawyer, I will refer the other person to an independent but like-minded lawyer, as the first step in an action plan.

At the end of your information meeting, you will leave with an action plan about what to do next. That plan will be specific for you and your situation. Sometimes the plan will be to do nothing at that time, at other times it will be a ‘to do list’.


You do not need to go to court I never do.