With so many of our Australian families being sucked into the vortex of our Court System and the recent announcement that our Judges are “stressed” and require more time off, when are we going to see that the system we have is not working, and instead it is leaving a path of destruction and broken families and damaged children.
You would think that the actual act of separating would be the hardest time of your life – telling a partner or being told by a partner that the life you know and the future you had planned for is coming to an end. This is heartbreaking and impacts everybody in the family.
Once separation occurs, the grief and loss process kicks in very fast – the anger, the tears, the doubts about the decision that has been made. This process needs time for adjustment and time to heal, and unfortunately the words “take your time” and “separation” are not two words we use in the same sentence.
Decisions need to be made about living arrangements, property splits and most importantly, times for the children to spend with both parents.
Trying to navigate through these major life decisions while in such an emotional state is almost impossible and it is in this vulnerable state that poor and rushed decisions can be made.
The pressure to know all the answers straight away can, in fact, cause the most damage in the future. The anger, which needs to be recognized as a normal emotional state during the grief and loss process, sets in and if not understood can be directed into the desire for your ex-partner to “pay” for causing this pain. Entitlement in regard to what each party feels they “deserve” and rushing new schedules for the children that they may not be ready for, all impact our health and our ability to be happy in the future.
When we don’t know the answers to all the questions we have, we often turn to the one place we think will have our backs and protect us – the people who know the law and our rights the lawyers and the legal system. We offer our trust to this industry and don’t ever think that it could cause us any harm.
Unfortunately, in many cases, our legal system creates an even bigger divide between you and your ex-partner. Communication ceases and legal letters are often not written with any concerns for the emotional state of the other person reading it. They are often demanding and aggressive and create a feeling that they need to then be defended, this causing the battle to begin.
Once we are on this roller-coaster, it is hard to jump off. The legal fees that we cannot afford start rolling in. There are hours and hours of document writing to do, often reliving all the negativity of the past relationship. Then there is the biggest risk, handing over to a stranger, a Judge, the decision-making power for our family and our future. Couple this with the waiting game and it should not be a shock that going down this path leads to emotional pain and breakdowns.
The natural grief and loss system that we all go through after separation will not completely end until our financial and child matters are resolved. So think about it, if our Court system is taking over 18 months and sometimes up to 3 years to resolve these matters for us, how many years are we willing to postpone our lives for and suffer this pain?
The separation process doesn’t need to be this hard. There are so many other options for couples to keep them away from this Court vortex. These other options allow you to protect your own mental health, the hope of a co-parenting relationship with your ex-partner in the future and’ most importantly, the mental health of your children. It’s time to take a stand and take control back of this separation process and not let the Court system take over our lives.
The Carousel would like to thank Donna Cameron for her article.