How to support someone going through separation or divorce

30-March-2017 Family Law General By Simone Green

Family separation and divorce are painful and emotional times for all concerned. The parties are often under a great deal of pressure and distress and the support of family and friends is vital.

A friend or family member may assist or support in the following ways:

  1. Offer to attend meetings with the person and their solicitor
    (a) It can be a great comfort to your friend or family member to have someone to provide emotional support and listen in to the legal advice provided.
    (b) Often in emotional situations, the client can have difficulties focussing and remembering in the moment and it can assist to review information later with someone close to them to assist with making decisions.
  2. Offer to care for their children
    If the friend/family member has young children in their care, it can be a great help to offer to care for them while he/she visits their solicitor or goes to Court.
  3. Offer to attend Court as a support person
    (a) You can sit in the back of the court provided it is not a closed court hearing (reserved for specific parenting matters)
    (b) You will not be able to attend a Registrar’s conference as it is for the parties only but you are welcome to wait in an adjoining room.
    (c) Avoid any negative comments to the other party or their friends/ family or confrontation of any kind. This will only add to the stress for your friend or family matter and will not assist in negotiations.
    (d) Be respectful of the Court and its processes and the solicitors involved on both sides.
  4. Encourage collaboration – avoid negative comments about the other party
    (a) It rarely assists to have someone voice negative views about the ex-spouse and can often backfire in the event of a reconciliation.
    (b) Furthermore, the sharing of negative emotion about the other party may encourage an adversarial style of negotiation between the parties. It is best to encourage collaboration around a mutually beneficially solution for the parties.
    (c) If children are involved, encourage the parenting relationship to continue. They will need to communicate effectively for many years around the common interests of the children.
  5. Listen
    The best thing you can do for your friend or family member is to provide your time to listen and provide emotional support. Remind them of the positive things they have in their lives and the things to look forward to.

Please contact us for further information or to discuss your personal circumstances and how we can help you on 81970105 or email


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