Recovering Emotionally from a Marriage or De Facto Relationship Breakdown


A marriage or de facto relationship breakdown is one of the most stressful and emotional times in a person’s life.  Some people seem to move on relatively quickly while the turmoil can last for years for others. 

Remember to look after yourself and seek help from your support network of family, friends and professionals.

The Grieving Period

Just as there is a grieving period when we lose a loved one, a separation can cause a lot of grief. It’s common for someone to feel they are in a period of grief as they mourn the loss of their previous living arrangements, lifestyle, friends and family.  

Taking Care of Yourself

There is no better time to take care of yourself than now. Some people may blame themselves for the marriage or relationship breakdown or feel guilty about putting their children through a separation. This is only natural but don’t let it hold you back from moving forward.

Even if there is no guilt, it is a highly stressful time. Worries about children, finances, assets, liabilities and your future can weigh heavily. Remind yourself that this is a phase of significant readjustment and you will find your new normal and be happy again.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

There are professionals in several fields available to help you prepare for a separation or upon the breakdown of your marriage or de facto relationship. You don’t have to feel embarrassed or ashamed about seeking professional help.


See your GP or a psychologist if you are feeling anxious or depressed. Some workplaces offer their staff access to a confidential counselling service. If you are worried about how your children are coping with the separation, see your GP or a psychologist at or outside the school..

If the stress and emotion are making it hard to work and you feel that taking some time off work may help, then by all means consult your GP.


If your finances are in a mess, don’t bury your head in the sand and hope they improve. If you can’t make repayments on loans or credit cards, contact your financial institution, financial counsellors or lawyers to see how they can assist.


A family lawyer can also assist you in sorting out your finances with your spouse or ex-partner.

Assistance from Friends and Family

Chances are you will never need the support of your friends and family more following a breakdown in your marriage or de facto relationship. The help of one or two people can make all the difference in alleviating the pain, anxiety, sadness or any feelings of betrayal.  If family or friends offer to help, accept it even if the offer is to cook you a meal or look after your kids.

Seeking Closure

Many persons going through a separation want closure so that they can move on’. They want to sort out their finances and property division with their spouse or ex-partner, make proper arrangements for care of the children and make a new Will. Problems often occur when one party wants to finalise matters before the other party is ready.

Despite how you or the other party is feeling, it’s best to sort out the financial and child-related issues as soon as possible. 

There are time limits for invoking the assistance of the Court to sort out financial issues following a separation.  If you want to invoke the assistance of the Court outside the time limit, you will need to apply for permission of the Court to do so, which could be resisted by your spouse or ex-partner and permission isn‘t always granted.  The process of sorting out the finances can be long for some separated couples and so it’s best to get it underway well before the expiry of the time limit for lodging an application in Court. The situation can become even more stressful when there is a looming deadline for making a Court application to sort out the financial issues.

If you need help and support from a family lawyer with any of your family law matters during this very challenging time of your life, book a consultation with us now on (08) 9364 2588 or contact us.

Category: Advice