The prospect of divorce might be terrifying but the prospect of going into a divorce unprepared is even more terrifying.
Here’s why one expert advises against burying your head in the sand, Body+Soul reports.
Gillian Coote, Managing Partner at Coote Family Lawyers, deals with these challenging circumstances all the time. She has helped men and women navigate the scary, stressful and painful process of divorce and separation for over 30 years.
For more stories like this visit Body+Soul
Throughout the course of her career, Ms Coote has become a master at noticing the small yet meaningful signs that one party is considering a divorce.
While tempting, Ms Coote advises against burying your head in the sand.
“It’s difficult to face the thought of your partner wanting a separation,” she tells Body+Soul. “It feels easier to avoid the discussion entirely, and to pretend it’s not happening. But despite the difficulty, confronting your partner may be the best option.”
Communication is key. If you do want to salvage the relationship, let your other half know, pronto. “If you want to save your relationship, the sooner you raise it, the better. It might re-establish a connection and lead to a discussion about positive next steps, such as relationship counseling.”
Not sure where you stand in your relationship? Here are five signs your partner might be considering a divorce:
1. They don’t communicate as openly as they used to
Communication is everything in a relationship. “When a partner doesn’t look to you for support anymore, they are avoiding communication and interaction.” This could mean not asking for your advice, sharing their feelings or asking about yours.
2. They’re hard to connect with emotionally
Ms Coote says, “When a partner becomes disengaged, they lose interest in connecting emotionally and aren’t willing to invest time and energy into keeping the relationship alive.
They “switch off’ and can be very distant.
When there is physical and emotional distance, a relationship can deteriorate very quickly, Ms Coote advises.
3. You’ve noticed they have new bank accounts
A divorce would also signal the separation of finances. Ms Coote says to look out for updated bank arrangements, new accounts and changed passwords.
You could have even noticed that money has disappeared: “Many think opening secret bank accounts or transferring large sums of money to new investments is a good way to ringfence assets prior to separation.”
4. They don’t want to talk about finances or investments
“Generally being secret about finances” is a big warning sign, Ms Coote explains, especially if your partner is suddenly uninterested in planning for the future.
Perhaps they don’t want to discuss that new investment or are no long interested in saving for that round-the-world trip.
5. You have no idea who they’re always calling or emailing
Has your partner been spending an unusual amount of time away from home? Do you have no idea who they’re always calling? Or maybe it’s that their phone is never, ever out of their sight? These could be signs of something untoward happening in your relationship.
Where to from here?
Do these signs sound familiar? Keep calm and follow Ms Coote’s advice:
Don’t panic. “If you think your partner is considering separation, but you’re yet to have the conversation, you might be tempted to hide income and assets.” For the record, this is not a good idea, as “although a property settlement is designed to be final, if a party fails to disclose assets at the time the settlement is agreed on, it can all come undone down the track.”
Seek legal advice early. “There are legal rights and responsibilities associated with separation and it is important to understand these. A lot of people feel guilty about speaking with a lawyer however they shouldn’t.”
Don’t involve your children. “When things are shaky, it’s common for parents to be tempted to voice negative things about one another in the presence of their children in an effort to get them on side. All this does is involve the child in a situation which is not their responsibility, and create a negative home environment which can have lasting effects on their welfare and mental health.”
Don’t post to social media. “If you suspect your partner wants to separate, it’s natural to experience a range of emotions but keep your emotions offline. Many people turn to social media to vent and seek support [but this] opens the flood gates for negative comments about your ex and can impact separation proceedings.
“What you post online can be used as evidence in court.”
This article originally appeared inBody+Souland was reproduced with permission