Five Tips on Separating from a Spouse
If you’ve recently made the decision to separate from a spouse, now is the time to establish the tone of your separation. Separating from your husband or wife does not have to be highly acrimonious or unhealthy, provided that you establish clear ground rules for the separation and maintain a respectful attitude toward your spouse. Below, find five guidelines for your transition into a separation that diminishes, rather than adds, to the stress on you and your spouse, and contact a New Jersey family lawyer for additional help.
- Create a separation agreement that meets your personal needs
Many separating spouses find it extremely beneficial to create an agreement outlining the terms of their separation before it begins. This agreement can include how child custody should be shared during the separation, whether one spouse will make alimony or child support payments, and how joint accounts or bills will be handled during the separation. The more issues you can agree to in advance, the fewer opportunities for conflict later on.
- Find a channel for communication that minimizes fighting
If you can’t see your spouse or speak with them on the phone without starting to fight, agree to keep your communications to an electronic medium, and commit to corresponding calmly and regularly. Written conversations often provide an easier way to both keep tempers in check, and keep track of issues on which you and your spouse have agreed. Eliminating conflict-filled in-person communication is especially critical if children are involved.
- Treat your spouse as you would a business partner
It may be difficult to transform what was a contentious relationship with your spouse into one that is calm and respectful, but don’t forget that you’re going to need to work together with this person for many months or years into the future, even if you decide to divorce. Remain responsive to requests for information, don’t speak ill of them in public (especially not on social media), and ensure that your children can see your respect for their co-parent. If you need to vent your frustrations, do so with a friend or counselor, and not at your spouse. Remember that the more you fuel conflict with a spouse and refuse to compromise, the more difficult it will be to convince that spouse to compromise in your favor, as well.
- Do not begin dating too soon
Diving into a new relationship immediately after deciding to separate from a spouse is not just a bad idea for you personally; it could also be a source of additional conflict in the context of your separation. Your spouse may turn hurt feelings regarding your speed at “moving on” into anger and retaliation, affecting how they respond to discussions over the division of assets and custody. Additionally, a new partner could affect the calculation of child and spousal support payments, or even affect a court’s determination of whether or not you should have residential custody of your children.
- Find a therapist
Separating from a spouse is bound to be a challenging and emotional time. Don’t underestimate the impact that this major life event is having on you and your mental health. Even a few sessions with a skilled therapist can offer you coping strategies to survive this major life change. If you have children, ensuring that you remain a healthy and functional parent makes this step even more critical.
If you are considering a separation in New Jersey, get legal help to ensure your rights and assets are protected by contacting the seasoned and effective Union divorce and separation attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation, at 908-964-0102.