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Are you going through separation or divorce? Here’s how to support your kids and avoid court

Many children feel unsettled, sad, stressed and confused when their parents are going through separation or divorce. Unfortunately, the effects are heightened if your family law matter ends up being litigated in court.

How can I help my kids through separation and divorce?

There are ways to help your kids cope with the upheaval of a breakup. You can help children by focusing on their needs. Talk to your kids honestly. Reassure them and try to stick to routines as much as possible. If there are no risks that need to be considered – i.e. family violence – you and your former partner can formulate a plan as to what the parenting arrangements will look like once physical separation occurs. This includes not only custody arrangements but also bedtime routine, extra-curricular activities, parenting styles and other matters to ensure a consistent approach in both homes. This consistency provides certainty for children and can make the transition to physical separation easier for all involved. If communicating with your former partner is difficult, a mediator can help. If you need assistance with planning, our family lawyers can assist.

Other ways to help your children through separation and divorce include:

Seek emotional support

Children should not be used to emotionally support you against the other parent. Your kids will have their own issues to deal with regarding the separation. You should not expose the children to your own emotions or difficulties you are having with your ex-partner during the separation. Seek assistance from professionals to help with your own personal emotions and not the children.

Reach out to teachers and school

Communicate with your kids’ teachers and school and any coach or person who is involved in their extra-curricular activities. If your networks know what is occurring at home, they will be able to let you know if there are any issues with the children so that you can seek support.

Enrol in post-separation programs
Enrol in and attend a post-separation parenting program. This is often helpful to learn techniques to parent after you have separated/divorced.

How can I avoid going to court?

The arrangements for custody and parenting of the children can be difficult to resolve. If negotiations or mediation fails, parents can issue an Application with the Family Court to work out parenting arrangements. At Benjamin & Robinson Lawyers, embarking on court litigation is always a last resort unless a matter is urgent or someone is at risk. Going to court can involve significant delays, high costs and uncertainty. You are essentially handing over the power to a Judge to decide your family law matter.

Alternatives to going to court include:


Negotiation involves formal discussions with your former partner or their lawyer about potential outcomes for your family law matter. The meeting should include finances and/or parenting arrangements. If an agreement can be reached, it will then be documented in “Consent Orders”. For more information, on Consent Orders, contact an experienced family lawyer.

Mediation involves a mediator – or independent third party – assisting you and your former partner to have meaningful discussions about potential settlement outcomes. The mediator is a trained professional who specialises in this type of work. The goal of mediation is to reach an amicable agreement between both parties.

Seek legal advice early

If you are going through separation or divorce, an experienced lawyer can ensure that court is your last resort. Seeking legal advice early can often lead to fast and cost-effective resolutions. Having said that, court is sometimes the only option.

Do I need to get a lawyer to get a divorce?

While it is not a legal requirement to seek a lawyer when you divorce, it is always recommended. A divorce does not deal with issues about property or parenting arrangements. These must be dealt with separately to the divorce application. Decisions about property and custody issues can be done any time after separation and up to 12 months after the divorce has been granted.

How much does it cost to hire a family lawyer in Sydney?

It’s difficult to say exactly how much you can expect to spend for a divorce lawyer to represent you. As every family law case is different and of varying complexity, the professionals at Benjamin & Robinson Lawyers price their services on a case-by-case basis.

With offices in South Hurstville and St George, the fees at Benjamin & Robinson Lawyers are affordable and competitive. For enquiries or a quote, contact us today on 02 9547 1733. You can also email us or request a consultation. Connect with our family lawyers  today.

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