How To Separate From Your Partner and Remain Amicable
Deciding that it’s time to separate from your partner is emotionally heart-wrenching, confusing, and painful. The last thing you want after making this brave commitment is to then go through a bitter and antagonistic break-up.
Conflict is never positive. It brings stress to you and your ex, upset to your children, and can result in lengthy and costly legal procedures.
However, there are ways and methods of separating from your wife, husband, or partner without causing World War III. At Falzon Legal, we’re committed to pursuing peaceful and non-litigious routes where possible — ensuring a smoother split and permitting you to move on to a more positive future.
Here’s how to separate from your husband or wife in the most amicable way.
How To Tell Your Husband or Wife You Want a Separation
You’ve made the courageous resolution — I want to separate from my husband (or wife).
Then, it’s time for perhaps the most challenging and toughest aspect of separation — telling this to your soon-to-be-ex.
I wish I could give you foolproof, straightforward instructions that eliminate heartache and ensure your former partner immediately accepts that it’s over. Unfortunately, due to the highly personal and individual nature of relationships — that’s sadly not possible.
However, based on my experience of dealing with thousands of separations over the years, I suggest following the below tips where appropriate for your situation.
- Plan carefully what you are going to say — it shouldn’t be a knee-jerk declaration during a passion-fuelled argument.
- Explain it’s not a matter of if or when to separate — it’s happening now.
- Be direct and express your resolution that the relationship is over — but do it with both kindness and respect.
- Don’t be angry.
- Don’t list all the reasons you believe that your spouse caused the relationship to fail and everything about them that annoys you.
- Plan how you will respond to any pleas for forgiveness, reconsideration, counselling, or bargaining.
- Don’t make any commitments at this stage to the division of property, custody of children, or any other settlement matters.
However, one of the most important factors in how to separate from your partner is being pre-emptive. You should take steps to protect your assets and interests before informing your partner you want to separate.
People can react out of character in stressful times, and a disgruntled or angry ex-spouse may decide to empty bank accounts or hide your passport.
I recommend checking out my Separation Checklist, which outlines the crucial steps to take to safeguard yourself, your children, and your assets before informing your wife or partner it’s over.
Take a Breath, and Evaluate Your and Your Ex’s Position
At the very beginning of your break-up, it’s time to take stock, gather together information, and lay out a plan for your split.
Making a checklist of all the steps you need to take in your separation — or using our downloadable how to separate 10-point plan — is an effective way to focus your thoughts and ensure nothing is missed.
Furthermore, it’s crucial that you accept that you may be in a different stage of your break-up — mentally or practically — from your ex. Typically, the person who decides to separate from their husband, wife, or de facto partner is usually further down the separation pathway.
Understanding this, and having a little patience with your former partner, can help to ease tensions.
Establish Boundaries and Create a New Relationship Dynamic
When separating from your husband, wife, or partner, it’s important to establish a new dynamic. Gone are the days of like-minded lovers — instead, I recommend building a connection more similar to business partners.
This attitude promotes cordial, efficient, yet distanced communication — allowing the separation to constructively proceed but without the emotional barriers and confusions.
Furthermore, taking this position can be positive for the long-term cordial success of the separation — for example, meaning you can both attend your children’s weddings or a loved one’s funeral without fireworks.
To achieve this business-like mindset when separating from your partner, I suggest:
- Always be polite and courteous.
- Offer up any necessary documents promptly.
- Respond to texts, calls, messages, and emails in a timely manner.
- Never criticise or abuse your ex online or to your children.
- Never ignore your previous partner.
- Don’t treat your ex as an adversary.
- Be trustworthy and do what you say you will do.
Explore a Non-Adversarial Separation From Your Partner
When considering how to separate from your husband, wife, or partner, it’s important to remember that break-ups and divorce aren’t always played out in court — as Hollywood would lead you to believe.
In most circumstances, through mediation and the guidance of an expert family lawyer, separation arrangements — particularly those regarding assets and liabilities — can be
arranged without adversarial court confrontations.
Not only is this less stressful and costly in the short term, but also means an increased success of longer-term cordiality between you and your ex-partner — especially important if you have children.
Alternatives to petitioning the Family Court for a property settlement include:
Protect Your Mental and Physical Wellbeing
Knowing how to cope with separation from your spouse from a health perspective is essential.
Too often, people place so much focus and time on legal procedures, split entitlements, and processes that they forget about their own wellbeing. Divorce and separation are often new experiences for many, and those going through the procedure lack the mental resources to cope.
Furthermore, in times of stress and confusion, it’s typically our partners who we turn to first for support and guidance. As this is not usually an option during separation, it can be a lonely and isolating time.
And, if it’s your partner who made the decision to split and not you — knowing how to cope with separation from your husband or wife is even more challenging.
I recommend making yourself familiar with the five stages of grief outlined by the Kübler-Ross model of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Furthermore, be open with friends and family about your feelings, speak to a Family Lawyer to have your mind put at rest regarding procedures, and don’t be afraid to seek support from a medical practitioner.
Address Non-Acceptance Kindly Yet Firmly
I want to separate from my husband, but he doesn’t — what should I do?
Equally applying to wives and partners, this is a common scenario, especially in the early stages of relationship splits. It’s natural that people wish to hold on, even if deep down they know that the marriage or de facto relationship is over.
However, you must remain resolved and firm on your decision, yet be empathetic of your soon-to-be-ex’s feelings. Explain your reasons, detail why you believe they cannot be solved, and express understanding of your ex-partner’s emotions. Furthermore, give them a little time to accept the situation, and grasp that they too, may be going through the five stages of grief — the first of which is denial.
Admittedly in some cases, knowing how to end a marriage or relationship peacefully means allowing a lawyer to communicate on your behalf. Blind stubbornness, anger, or in the worst cases violence, can mean third-party intervention is necessary.
The key to understanding how to cope with separation from your husband or wife is this — life goes on, and you will have a successful and happy future.
I know that separation from your husband, wife, or partner can, in the earliest stages, feel like your whole world has collapsed. However, speak to friends, family, or colleagues who have also split or divorced — and you’ll find that despite the early dark days, the pain and stress passes.
That said, in my opinion, accepting separation from your wife or husband isn’t helped or improved by immediately starting another relationship.
While legally, it will make no difference to your break-up, it can create confusion and anger for your ex. Not only can this make your separation more unpleasant and stressful, but it may also encourage your previous partner to be increasingly combative in settlement negotiations.
Take Expert Legal Advice
Considering a break-up, telling your partner, and following the separation process can be scary.
Thoughts race through your head, such as should I separate from my husband? What will happen to the children? And what’s the legal process of how to separate from my husband in Australia?
During this time, you can feel alone and isolated. You’re not, Falzon Legal is here for you.
Expert separation and divorce lawyers, we will compassionately guide you through a smooth split — wherever possible striving for peaceful, congenial, and out-of-court resolutions.