As a family law solicitor of over 20 years, there are few scenarios of separated parties that are new or even shocking to me.
The scenarios range from mutual agreement to separate to being caught out in delicate scenarios, and everything in between.
The social media craze has added to the adventurous ways that partners can cheat and be caught.
Relationships/marriages have ended by announcement to the other half via SMS, email, Blackberry, post-it note, letters or as one client found out that his marriage had ended, by returning home to an empty house, a bag of raw prawns were left to defrost and “cook” on the breakfast bar in a sweltering over 40 degree summer’s heatwave and the stench was eye watering.
The decision to end a relationship can be filled with the extremes of emotion ranging from fear, doubt, guilt, shock, betrayal, anger and a desire to get even.
Often these emotions are played out in domestic violence scenarios requiring police and court intervention. It can also be played out through vitriolic emails, verbal abuse and through behaviour involving the children, such as withholding the children from the other parent or limiting time with the children, or even having the children take sides in the dispute between the parents.
Where there is emotional turmoil, it is difficult to negotiate and settle any of the substantive issues relating to property and children.
Children are particularly affected by the conflict between their parents. Some children become so distressed they revert to bed wetting, have poor concentration at school and develop behavioural issues.
We have been assisting many couples through the process and we have found that early intervention with tailored advice can reduce the impact, particularly on children involved.