People decide to separate for many different reasons.

Sometimes it can be a mutual decision. Other times one or other party might decide to separate against the wishes of the other person. Going through a divorce or a separation can be a very difficult experience for the individual. Studies have shown us that going through a divorce or a separation can be more traumatic than the loss of a loved one.

Accordingly, making the right decisions in the divorce process can have a dramatic effect on your future and your well-being. When children are involved the process can be even more complicated and have more dramatic circumstances for the family as a whole.

In circumstances where one person wants to separate and the other person wants to stay in the relationship, there can be a great degree of confusion and additional upset until the situation is clarified.

The parties have a number of choices:

  • Attend marriage counselling
  • decide to live apart without any legal agreement
  • legally separate without proceeding with a divorce
  • proceed with a divorce on the contested bases against the wishes of the other person

Unfortunately, where one person decides against the wishes of the other person that they do not want to continue with the marriage they can proceed on a contest basis and obtain a divorce. There is no way to prevent an individual obtaining a divorce if they meet the criteria necessary under the law to be granted a divorce.

There are a number of important factors to take care of where you have made a decision to separate. This is not an exhaustive list and your family solicitor is best placed to give you advice in this regard. Where a couple has made a decision together to separate they should consult with their mediators in relation to the mediation process to learn more in advance of entering mediation.

Important issues to consider when you are making a decision to separate:

Is this the best for me?

Is this the best decision for my children?

How is my partner likely to take the news?

What is my partner likely to do when I tell them I want to separate?

What precautions/ safety measures do I need to put in place in advance of discussing this with my partner?

How will my financial situation change after I have revealed to my partner my intention to separate

Will the children be affected by my decision?

What safeguards and supports do I need to put in place in advance of telling my partner?

The best suggestion that can be made to couples in advance on discussing a separation is to set out clearly what you hope to achieve by the separation. Confronting a spouse in an accusatory manner in seeking a separation is never a good idea. Such incidents only serve to aggravate matters further. Where a person has decided that the relationship is over it is important that they are honest with the other person in relation to what they are seeking to achieve from the separation. Often people, in their effort to let the other person down gently, give mixed messages that cloud the issues and lead to false hope.

This can also make matters worse, and hinder the other person in coming to terms with what is really happened.i.e the end of the relationship.

Although it can be very difficult for the other person to accept this news at least they have the ability to deal with this information, take advice and make informed decisions in respect of what steps take next.