Home > Podcast

E4: Self Care through divorce and separation

On the Show Today You’ll Learn

In this episode accredited family law specialists Benjamin Bryant and Heather McKinnon talk to Monica Joseph, a private practice, Medicare accredited social worker and counsellor, who specialises in counselling people going through relationship breakdowns. Divorce and separation can be a long and emotional process.  You need to take care of yourself in order to make wise decisions in a stressful time.

Today’s show touches on the following topics:

  1. How to start caring for yourself right from the start.
  2. How to go the distance in a long, drawn out divorce.
  3. Relaxation and stress relief techniques.
  4. When is it time to seek help from a counsellor?
  5. How to avoid internalising harsh words from your ex.

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Smiling Mind App – Monica referred to this as Mindful Smiling in the episode, but this is the correct name and link if you want to download the app.

Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Mediation Experience

Subscribe to The Family Matters Show


Full Episode Transcript

Welcome to The  Family Matters Show

Benjamin Bryant: Welcome to the Family Matters podcast, where we answer the tough questions about divorce and separation. Empowering you to make better decisions for yourself and your family.

Benjamin Bryant: Hi, everyone. Benjamin Bryant from Bryant McKinnon Lawyers here with you again, for Episode 4 of The Family Matters Show podcast. As usual, I am joined by my partner in crime, Heather McKinnon. Hi, Heather.

Heather McKinnon: Hi Ben.  Back from holidays, ready to get into it.

Benjamin Bryant: Excellent. For anyone tuning in for the first time, Heather and I are both specialist family lawyers and we spend most of our days interacting with people who are at one stage or another of a divorce or separation. One thing we notice is that some people seem to sail through the whole thing, while others come in looking increasingly tired and rundown. It may be our job to stay focused on legal settlement issues, but we can’t help but to worry about our client’s physical and mental health. So for this month’s podcast, we decided to invite Monica Joseph, a private practice social worker and counsellor, onto the show to give us some advice about self care. Welcome, Monica. And thank you for agreeing to come on the show and chat with us.

Monica Joseph: Thanks for inviting me.

Benjamin Bryant: No worries. I’m particularly excited about this show, Monica, because Heather and I always help people navigate through the family court process there’s a lot of resources out there about helping them through the family law process. But of course, today we’re going to focus in on them and self care issues. So I’m really excited about that. So thank you for being here.

Benjamin Bryant: For those that don’t know, Monica, Joseph is a Medicare accredited social worker. Over four decades, Monica has worked in multiple capacities in psych hospitals, mental health community centres and all tiers of government. She now has a private counselling practice in Coffs Harbour, where she would help people deal with mental health issues, adjustment to disability, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, grief and most relevant to today’s podcast, relationship difficulties and breakdown. So, again, welcome, Monica. Thank you.

Monica Joseph: Okay.

Advice for those just starting out with a separation

Benjamin Bryant: Let’s get started. Question number one, when people first come to us, they usually look pretty shell shocked and are often quite angry. What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with a divorce or separation?

Monica Joseph: Well, I’d like to be able to say that nobody is prepared for divorce. It is going to be a very complicated process legally and emotionally. And I  think anger is an emotion that people can say is normal because it is a grief reaction and shock they are all grief reactions. My advice is that I think people would be best off talking to a sympathetic friend in the first place or seeking some couple counselling. I think to park a lot of your problems and vent with the lawyer can be a very expensive process. And they’re there to help you navigate through the complicated legal situation and the emotional stuff can get in the way as a cost problem.

Heather McKinnon: People don’t realise that, especially family lawyers who specialize in the field, often what we’re doing in those first interviews is assessing whether a client is adjusting appropriately or whether they might need help. So we actually regularly refer when we think people are throwing out a lot of those issues like anger into their legal sphere. We know that that will just fuel fees. It will fuel conflict. So we often get people to draw breath and suggest they go and get some counselling and come back to us in a few months time when they’re in a better head space to start to look logically at what happens. So it is it’s really interesting from our perspective because we’re at the front line and often we’re the first people that they see, whereas we’d prefer it if we’re the second.  It would be much more beneficial to the client if they had the resources of people like you, rather than coming straight to lawyers.

Benjamin Bryant: And I like what you said, Monica, about having a sympathetic friend because we do see people’s support networks. Some of them are really effective. Some of them are really good and really can help people through the time of crisis. Other times we see cheerleading squads. So I think it’s really important to have a sympathetic friend, like you said, perhaps that someone’s been through it, but someone that you have a trusted relationship when they can,give you the good news and the bad news and either agree with you or disagree with you and see on both sides of the claim.

What happens when people fail to take care of themselves through separation

Benjamin Bryant: Monica, as we are painfully aware, the process of finalizing a separation can take a long time. In your experience, what happens when people fail to take care of themselves over that period?

Monica Joseph: Well, I’d like to quote a first century fellow called Cyrus here. He said something along the lines that the bow too tensely strung, is very easily broken. And I think tensely is a good word there, because he must have known something about stress. I think people don’t always know that they’re stressed. The physical signs of stress can damp down, but the emotional and mental stress continues. And I think people think they’re coping. But like he said, you know, the bow too tightly strung, can easily break. So I guess what I’d like to say there is people can end up overreacting, over worrying, being very self-critical, very avoidant, very avoidant, relying on more alcohol, self medicating, having less energy, over eating. These are all things that can kick in.

What help can family and friends provide

Heather McKinnon: I was just going to ask Monica, I’m interested in what we see is people that are obviously exhibiting those signs, but they have no insight. So they’re just going through their daily life strung really tightly. What help can the family and friends give to a person that they can observe, but isn’t getting any sort of message themselves that they’re that they’re over-stressed? Like, how do you get that through to someone?

Monica Joseph: Well, I think that sympathetic friend or at that stage, even some counselling can help people get some self focus because people can become very self-critical, without knowing that they are. I think some of the things that people can easily look at don’t cost a lot of money. You know, like just getting a bit of sunlight with their breakfast, is a very easy, simple cost less solution. Eating a balanced diet, getting rest, having about 7-8 hours sleep a night. Listening to good music, baroque music, 4×4 beats, very relaxing for people. It proves, too, that there’s more synaptic connections being made and very calming. Joining a group, maybe taking up a new hobby, doing something a bit different to distract yourself from all that stress. Being more mindful, making time for yourself. A massage can sometimes help in dire situations like that. People needing that touch in that therapeutic way can be a solution. It isn’t always about talking about things.

How to know when worry, self criticism or drinking has gone too far

Benjamin Bryant: They’re some great tips, Monica. The question that I had was you said, people worrying too much, being self critical or drinking. I assume worry and being critical and drinking is a part of every separation process. So how is difficult, but how can we help people identify when it’s too much worry or being too self-critical or drinking too much? How can we try and gauge that?

Monica Joseph: Well, I think people do have to take some responsibility for their own health and I don’t think they always, welcome that sort of news. They’re dealing with a divorce. It wasn’t something that they expected, particularly people who didn’t really want to go there in the first place probably have even a harder time of it. The risk is increasing, the increasing inability to cope with current life demands. So when when you see people overeating, overreacting, over worrying, it’s easy sometimes to tell people, that perhaps they need to focus on themselves. Because it’s a long road with the legal process and they will not get things done and dusted in two minutes. And how are they going to last?

Focusing on the children: is that enough

Benjamin Bryant: That’s right. And how will that impact on the people around them as well? Which brings me to my next question. So we often hear people say that they have to focus on making sure that the children are okay and they don’t have time to worry about themselves. What would you say to those people?

Monica Joseph: Well, look, I had a friend years ago whose sister was a psychiatrist. And in her early years of practice, she noted that when mother was right, child was right. And I would go with that. If the parents look after themselves,then the children will be okay too. So putting it around the other way: instead of putting the children first, in that sense by having some self care, because kids are very prone to anxiety and they will pick that up. And if the parent, whoever they might be, the mother or the father can actually deal with their own issues, that will flow on. So I’d go with that basic, very basic, simple bit of advice, that you’re not being selfish, looking out for yourself. You’re actually looking at investing in a bit of a flow on effect with the children.

Heather McKinnon: And we see that all the time, that kids pick up the signals and if the parents are coping and they’re getting on with life, then the adjustment for the children to the breakdown of the family is within that normal six month period. But in cases where the parents don’t look after themselves and the kids are enmeshed in that really heavy, horrible environment at home, we invariably see there’s problems with the kids at school and the children themselves start to exhibit signs that they’re not coping.

Monica Joseph: Well, it can be a vicious cycle. If you’re neglecting yourself, drinking too much, you’re not paying attention to the kids. So you’re not really that focused or that aware or that observant. And the way to get there is by putting yourself first. And then those problems with the kids should be minimized or could be minimized.

Heather McKinnon: I like that, that sense that, we’re here and we give clients about. That’s why when you’re on an airplane, you put the oxygen mask.

Monica Joseph: That’s right. Instead of rushing out and saving everybody.

Benjamin Bryant: Heather, I’m sure you would agree, but when clients come and see us and they’re telling us whether they have been under some stress or they have a history of mental health or something like that, when it turns to a separation or you maybe going to court and you’re under the microscope a bit and people are a bit reluctant to try and get that help, because they think it’s going on their record, you know, almost like a criminal record. Well, if I go and see a psychologist or a counsellor, if I go to my GP and discuss these issues…

Monica Joseph: Yes…”don’t write that down, don’t write that bit down.  They’re going to subpoena my notes.”

Benjamin Bryant: It’s all going to come out. But of course, what we say is it’s great. And obviously, no one separates in a vacuum. No one has unconscious uncouplings like Gwyneth Paltrow can pull off. And there is a lot of things going on. And if you look after yourself and you may have these issues, that’s okay address them, too. I mean, it’s absolutely safe space to end. We encourage people to do it all the time rather than ignoring it and say, oh, it’s not happening. It’s not happening. There’s no record of it. Go in there and tackle it head on.

Heather McKinnon: And then the ultimate in that that I tell clients who are really frightened of giving help is there have been numbers of Australian Family Court judges who have put on the record that at times during their lives they have sought assistance for the very reason that they want the public to know that’s a strength, not a weakness. There are times in your life where no matter how much your friends and your trusted advisers might be there for you, you may need a little bit of extra help from a professional. So I think that’s the big message, that it is a strength. It’s not a weakness.

Monica Joseph: That’s right. You’re giving yourself a chance to get some clarity and some objectivity in what can often be a very messy emotional situation.

Benjamin Bryant: Absolutely. If people are upset by the separation or they’re crying or they’re acting out or doing these things, they could be perfectly reasonable responses to the crazy situation.

Monica Joseph: The one I referred to earlier, that grief process.

Benjamin Bryant: Yeah. When a divorce is adversarial, there tends to be a lot of blaming and shaming. How can you protect yourself emotionally, so that harsh words from the ex partner don’t end up with self-loathing or self-criticism?

Monica Joseph: The key to that is becoming more assertive. And you can’t be that if you’re very caught up in a lot of self-critical stuff going on in your head. So I think the two important things for people, are to be aware of how they’re thinking about themselves. And not personalizing a lot of that material. Because what happens is that people can easily fall into that and think I’m a loser, I’m not good enough. And that criticism and self blame can become a bit contagious.

Benjamin Bryant: Or maybe they’re right.

Monica Joseph: Yes. Or maybe they’re right. So it robs them of power over themselves. So people can be very harsh and critical of themselves, even more than someone who’s blaming and shaming. And so if they’re not going to get a handle on that, it’s very hard for them to become assertive and to stand up for their rights. Because at the end of the day, they’re in the box seat for being in charge of their own thoughts and their own emotions and not let someone else be in charge of those. So what a lot of that blaming and shaming does is disempowers that person. So essentially, blaming is just people discharging hurt, and shaming is getting people to sort of hide things, and that really takes away their power. So it’s very hard for them to not end up with that self-loathing and criticism if they’re not on the job. You know, and they’re used to being a bit passive.

Heather McKinnon: Yeah. And so it’s a re-education. It’s a time of growth if you want it to be.

Monica Joseph: That’s work that can be done in counselling too, helping people to one step up and become more assertive. Which is hard for them, because they might be used to taking the back seat, so that seems very aggressive. Whereas an aggressive person who puts their needs before someone else will tend to find becoming assertive a bit like dumbing down. So it’s really about treating other people as you would want to be treated. And that isn’t about blaming and shaming.

Heather McKinnon: And I think that that flows into litigation, because obviously Ben and I often see that where we try and say to clients, take the high road, don’t get involved in highly contentious correspondence or 27 page affidavits going through everything wrong in the relationship. Try and stay focused and don’t get drawn into what we call the vortex of blame.

Benjamin Bryant: No, it’s not mudslinging or a  debate. Try and stick to the issues, of course, in the best interests of the children.

Monica Joseph: But it’s in that realm that things get quite messy.

Recommended relaxation techniques

Benjamin Bryant: Absolutely. And in terms of managing stress, Monica, what are some of the relaxation techniques that you would recommend? We’ve heard baroque music.

Monica Joseph: Look there’s a lot of stuff out there on the net, too. You know, there’s progressive muscle relaxation, there’s the loving-kindness-meditations, there’s passive relaxation, there’s lots of different modes of yoga, Tai Chi, it’s endless.

Monica Joseph: But where I’d start with is the breath: is breathing. I think breathing is really very important. And I think you said maybe something our listeners can try, you know, is the very slow breathing technique that I think I recommend all the time when people think they’re having a heart attack but really having an anxiety, panic attack. It is about slow breathing. So it’s about breathing in two, three and then relax two three. Breathing right into the diaphragm. And doing that for about five minutes is enough to re-calibrate your blood gases and bring in calm.

Benjamin Bryant: When people are doing that, Monica, are they focusing on the breath? Are they counting one, two, three or are they trying to still the mind.  What are they doing?

Monica Joseph: Well, I did it one day in a car when I wasn’t feeling, I was stressed, I was a passenger…

Benjamin Bryant: I was going to say, were you driving?

Monica Joseph: Laughter. And I counted my breaths for one minute, 60 seconds, and the number of breaths I had were something like about 18 or 20. And you really need to get your breath down to 10 or 12. Now, I didn’t think I was stressed. So I did five minutes of that slow breathing technique and then re-measured at the end of that and I had cut that down to 10. And that’s very powerful. So that’s what I would recommend people do. Because it’s something that doesn’t cost any money, ou do it to yourself, and it’s a quick way of calming yourself. Now, I didn’t think I was even stressed. So you can imagine a very stressed person would stay in that mode.

Monica Joseph: So the breath is very important and it is about breathing down into the diaphragm, between the lungs and the stomach, getting your breath right down there and breathing out slowly. And it is a calming and it is really the only way people who go to hospital thinking they’re having a heart attack get treated, you know, get that breath back going. Yeah, so that’s my number one tip.

Monica Joseph: Mindful Smiling is a good app. Wow. I downloaded that the other day and I was irritated two days later when the message came up that I hadn’t had any meditations. So I did a body scan last night to keep it quiet.  It took five minutes, and it was really quite a relaxing thing to do. People think you have to set yourself up in a certain way, but you can actually do any kind of relaxation anywhere.

Benjamin Bryant: What was that meditation?

Monica Joseph: That was just a body scan, but it was on that Smiling Mindful app.

Heather McKinnon: Well Ben and I will share that we regularly do meditation and there’s a free one that we’ve done for years, done by Deepak Chopra and Oprah.  Then it goes for 21 days and it’s on 3 times a year. That is another fantastic way to introduce yourself to the process of meditation if you haven’t done it. Those free services that we get access to now on the Internet are wonderful. You can do them anywhere, any time. You don’t pay for classes and…

Monica Joseph: Very accessible. Look there’s only one letter difference between medication and meditation, and I can make quite a bit of difference. You know, no side effects. And it is a practice that you can bring in, when you’re going to face a stressful court hearing or any of those kind of occasions, so that you can get some clarity… grounding, it’s a bit of grounding.

Heather McKinnon: And I think it’s very interesting you say in mediation, which is what we spend our days doing, we have been taught over the years to actually mirror the breathing. So if you’re in a room where everyone else is crazy and you sit there as a practitioner and you just breathe, the rest of the room picks up on that and you can actually calm quite serious energy down. If you can do it yourself, the others will actually start to mirror that.

Benjamin Bryant: I do that even at the bar table. If I have an urgent interim hearing, that’s yucky or something like that and it’s not your ordinary court matter. I can feel myself getting worked up, and just stopping and breathing at the bar table.

Monica Joseph: Look and there’s a lot of brain science to this as well. Because, you know, when you’re looking at the emotional system and you look at the threat protection system and the flight and fight and all that adrenaline and cortisol. It’s a bit like stepping into a toxic bath. You wouldn’t do that normally. Well you’re having a lot of those chemicals surging through your brain.

Monica Joseph: And when you’re doing all that meditation, you’re bringing in that soothing, calming part of the emotional system, where you’re getting more of that serotonin and oxytocin and endorphins, those other chemicals that you want surging through your brain. If you look at yourself and see yourself as a chemical, as a concoction of chemicals, you can kind of manage and be more objective about how to do that rather than get caught up in that emotional vortex that we mentioned earlier.

When to get professional help

Benjamin Bryant: And Monica, when the meditation apps aren’t working and the relaxation techniques aren’t effective, what are the signs that someone needs to seek professional help?

Monica Joseph: Well, I think when they’re using too many drugs and drinking too much and other addictive behaviours, like gambling, overworking, the desire to self-harm, people having frequent suicidal thoughts, poor sleep, a lot of sleep disturbance creates a skewed way of looking at your situation, and unexpected physical health problems. I think that’s when you could say maybe I need a bit more help and maybe the sympathetic friend isn’t enough, and maybe it’s burdening the friends because friends they can hang in there for a while. But sometimes they’ll only tell you what you want to hear, or what they think you want to hear, whereas a good counsellor will be objective and will try and be honest.

What can a counsellor actually do to help

Benjamin Bryant: So that’s my next question. So if people decide to see a counsellor, what is the counsellor are going to do? What difference are they going to make to that person or to the divorce or what they’re feeling about the separation?

Monica Joseph: Well, hopefully that they will be able to give guidance, be able to give support, give clarification, empathy and tools to improve their coping skills. So, you take yourself wherever you go. And even if you see 10000 counsellors, you’re not going to have any way of getting any help unless you, I guess, bring yourself into it. You take yourself wherever you go. So you need to apply these things and a counsellor can help you check on you have been trying this. If this hasn’t worked, try that and maybe even look at stuff in a different way.

Monica Joseph: It can assist a person to reduce stressful reactions and be better able to respond and make good decisions because good decision making is imperative in the legal area and can be very frustrating when you can see that it’d be so much cheaper and easier if people just made the right decision.

Benjamin Bryant: Because they’re taking a lot of decisions and a lot of significant decisions.

Monica Joseph: And when people don’t make decisions, they’re making them anyway. So they could be disadvantaging themselves. So I think it’s about helping people make good decisions. And Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, you might have heard of him, who was a Holocaust survivor, said that your freedom is the pause between stimulus and response. And I think that’s very powerful because people don’t give themselves that pause.

Benjamin Bryant: That’s right.

Monica Joseph: So even that breathing gives you that pause.

Benjamin Bryant: The emotional intelligence.

Heather McKinnon: And it is so obvious when we go into that conflict resolution phase in a case, if someone’s still got cortisol going through their system and driving them, it doesn’t matter what we do. We can’t get a result for them.

Monica Joseph: They’re not hearing you.  They’re feeling under threat. They’re feeling they’ve got to fight. And that gets in the way.

How to find a good counsellor

Benjamin Bryant: So once someone’s made a decision to see a counsellor, how can they find a good one and how much will it cost?

Monica Joseph: Well, I think they could start with their GP. The GP will know about a lot of counsellors out there because they’re in the habit now of using them. Or they can talk to a friend that’s been through it and who has had a good counsellor or a helpful one, and they can start there. A lot of people don’t know this, but under Medicare, you’re entitled to 10 sessions in a calendar year. Now, some of these counsellors might bulk bill, but they’re not in the majority. There will be counsellors who will bulk bill if there’s a healthcare card and there are counsellors that have a gap fee or people can go in as private. But you can access 10 sessions in a calendar year through your GP, who does a mental health care plan. And so you really need to let them know that you’re coming in to talk about some emotional and psychological disturbance so they can give you that hour to do the mental health care plan. And then they will refer you to a counsellor or someone that you already decide that you want to go and see.

Benjamin Bryant: So you can put a name forward.

Monica Joseph: Yes, you can put the name forward.

Heather McKinnon: If you’ve got a referral from a friend or someone else. Monica, can I just ask you to give some advice? I know that the step to get to someone is a big one, but if you get to somebody and your feeling that the mix isn’t right, what do you do then? So, you know, a client might have a friend say, go and see this person and they go and see them, they make the brave choice, but they don’t click. Can they go back to the GP and say, can you give me a referral to someone else or…

Monica Joseph: Well, they don’t even really need to do that, because once they’ve got that mental health care plan, they can go to anyone they like. So if they find after a couple of sessions that it’s not working, they just haven’t clicked, they can take themselves to someone else. Who ever does see them can refer back to that plan or that item number, that referral date and that GP.

Benjamin Bryant: So they don’t have to go through the process again.

Monica Joseph: No, they don’t. Because the mental health care plan lasts until a totally different condition occurs. So that’s a valid plan and they can change if they feel that that that’s not happening for them. And people do it. And I suppose I need to tell the other counsellor how many sessions they’ve had with the previous one, so that if they do have 10 with that person, they don’t get paid for the last two if they haven’t been if they’ve used them elsewhere. It’s just one of those things.

Benjamin Bryant: And obviously it’s an uncomfortable situation being awkward. And you might not ever been to a counsellor before. And you said after a couple of sessions, if you don’t feel you say a couple of sessions, you would just go with the vibe in the first session.

Monica Joseph: Or it could be even the first session.

Heather McKinnon: But often I know that people come back and on the first session counsellors will often push buttons that make you feel uncomfortable so… How many drinks are you having? Oh just six stubbies a day.

Monica Joseph: Well, you have to remember it’s only 10 sessions in that year, but you can still have 10 more the next year from that same plan.  And you know, the first sessions úsually an assessment. So maybe people feel uncomfortable about being asked some questions.

Benjamin Bryant: And Monica, some of our listeners and viewers will be making the decision not to see a counsellor. What’s your advice to them?

Monica Joseph: Well, as long as they feel they are coping, they don’t have to see a counsellor. I think, like I said, if, you know, they’re falling into a hole and they’ve lost a lot of friends and there’s not many people around and they’re still caught up with their emotions and they might be drinking too much. I think that’s where I would encourage them to think about it again. I think people might need time to get used to that idea because they were already having problems. I remember an American writer in a short story, Joy Williams, who said, the divorce cost 17 times more than the wedding and the children didn’t turn out too well either. There’s a lot on their plate, you know.

Monica Joseph: And so it does take awhile for people to process the value of counselling.

Viewer question: How do I get my power back?

Benjamin Bryant: Alright one more question. And this one, Monica, is actually one of our viewers has written into the show and has asked this question. So here it is. My former partner keeps trying to control me mentally, emotionally and financially. There is no parenting plan, court orders or IVO or AVO in place. And my ex partner refuses to go to mediation. I am at my wits end. How can I get my power back?

Monica Joseph: Well, I thought about that question when I saw it and thought, well, look, I think that’s where you’ve got to trust the legal system to get you through all those hoops. And I guess I’m saying with that question, they need to have more faith with their solicitor and follow their advice. So even if everything looks against them at the beginning, if they do all the right things, it will come together eventually. But it’s going to be a slower process.

Heather McKinnon: And that’s always the way when you have someone who is averse to conflict. They will put up with a lot. And even when we make the assessment, we think the court needs to be involved. It takes people a long time but we make those assessments after many years of knowing which one’s are going to need the big stick.

Benjamin Bryant: Especially with parenting matters, because if you are sitting in an advice session with her myself, we’d be talking about the difference between parenting plans and orders and the advantages and disadvantages of each. And when I’m doing that part of my skill, what I say is in respect to the power imbalance. That’s what orders do. Because especially with young children, you tend to have one parent that’s the gatekeeper for the children. And they’re not the one that has to jump through the hoops, it’s the other parent that has to jump through the hoops. And when that parent gets frustrated and say, well why is it I’m the one jumping through the hoop. Why is the microscope always on me. The other parents also doing drugs ór also has anger issues or whatever, but no one’s asking questions about her. So that’s why I think it’s a great reason people do look at court orders, instead of just getting an informal agreement on the side to try and get some of that power back.  If this person doesn’t want to come to mediation, then essentially if you use a registered family dispute resolution practitioner in Coffs Harbour Interrelate or the Family Relationship Centre, perhaps Legal Aid or a private mediator out there, of course, they can issue you with a certificate which says that you’ve tried mediation, but you haven’t been able to do it because the other party failed to attend or in this particular situation it may well be that it’s not appropriate to do mediation. In that circumstance maybe the only option is, like Heather said, is to go to court so you have the big stick. That’s how you get your power back. Some people don’t need to go to court. Some people do. You need a lawyer to help make that assessment as to where you fall in.

Monica Joseph: Well, there are a lot of people, as we know, who rearrange their whole lives around the children so that they leave the children in the house and they come and they go. That’s the other extreme of that. I think when people get their heads around the basic idea that the children have all the rights and they only have the responsibilities. That’s a key, I think. And that helps with that stuckness for that person.

Goodbye for now…

Benjamin Bryant: Well said, Monica. And thank you so much for coming on to the show.

Monica Joseph: Oh, thanks for inviting me.

Benjamin Bryant: I’d like to say to all of our listeners out there who are going through divorce and separation, please remember to take care of yourself. There is really nothing more important than your own health. Thank you to all our listeners for joining us again for this episode. We hope you found the show helpful and encourage you to listen to past episodes for information on other family matters.

Benjamin Bryant: Next month, Heather and I are going to talk about children in divorce and separation, a very sensitive subject for pretty much all couples out there. So you’ll want to listen on to this one. We’ll cover child support and parenting arrangements and we’ll also be opening up the show to your questions. So if you or someone you know is going through a separation and has questions related to children, please either messages on Facebook or e-mail the show at familymatters@bryantmckinnon.com.au.

Benjamin Bryant: A final reminder that links to any resources mentioned on today’s show will be available in the show notes on our website. Also, if you access this podcast on our website, bryantmckinnon.com.au, you will also find a full transcript of the episode. Of course, you can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Benjamin Bryant: Goodbye for now and we hope you’ll be listening in again next month.

Benjamin Bryant: The information provided on this podcast is general in nature and not a substitute for personal legal advice. We recommend you consult an accredited family law specialist.

© 2024 Bryant McKinnon Lawyers
List now to The Family Matters Show, a Bryant McKinnon Lawyers Podcast