Caroline Swain, Partner, Matrimonial and Family Law provides a guide to achieving an amicable separation.

Separation is a difficult situation to go through. There may be several reasons for your break up, and as such you could be harbouring some unresolved hurt or anger. If you successfully manage to achieve an amicable split however, your separation will be much easier for both you and your family.
There are no laws to follow on having an easy separation, however there are some methods you can utilise to ensure your separation is peaceful and stress-free.

Avoid open criticism

For your sake:
By talking negatively about your ex-partner, it will not only cause upset and unnecessary stress, but it will manifest your bad feelings towards them and heighten the chances of a tumultuous separation.
If you feel like you have nothing positive to say to them, it’s best to have as little communication as possible, outside of the potential legal proceedings you’re going through.
This helps to ease the load you may feel like you’re carrying, and will make the process a lot easier for you to deal with.

For your children’s sake:
It’s also important to remember that if you have children, openly criticising their mother or father in front of them can make them feel guilty for spending time with the other parent. It will be easier for you and your child if you aren’t negative in front of them – a separation for children may only as bad as their parents make it out to be.

Establish boundaries
Now that you’re no longer together, it is a good idea to lay down some ground rules regarding personal space and communication.
3 steps which you can follow to make this process easy for you are:

Discover WHY you need to set your boundaries:
You and your partner have separated for a reason, be it big or small, so you will need to focus on what the reasons were to work out what type of boundary you need. Did this person’s presence have a negative impact on your life? Did they make comments that were untrue or hurtful?
Working out why exactly you need to set your boundaries is the first step in achieving a peaceful life.

Discover HOW you need to set your boundaries:
Now that you know why you need to set boundaries, you can begin to set them in motion. If you’ve realised that your ex-partner was a negative influence on your life, the boundary you set could be to limit the amount of time you have to see them. If they were always borrowing money from you, you can tell them you’re no longer going to fund them.
Establishing and setting boundaries is a big step, so take the time to congratulate yourself for your strength.

Get grounded and take care of yourself:
Setting boundaries sometimes has two initial results: you may receive some backlash from your ex-partner, and you also might feel some guilt. Both things are totally normal, and it’s important for you to stand by your decisions and keep yourself grounded.
You’re not alone in this situation, so remind yourself that you’re making the right choice and to not be hard on yourself. Deciding to separate was a difficult decision and you probably put a lot of thought into it, so trust your own judgement. Focus on making your life as easy as possible.

You may still need to contact each other:
If you need to speak to each other, choose a way of establishing conversation that you both agree on, whether it’s sending a text message, calling or meeting face to face.

Mediate
In divorce mediation, you and your ex-partner – or in some cases the two of you and your respective solicitors, hire a neutral third party called a mediator to meet with you in an effort to discuss and resolve the issues in your divorce.
Mediation is less expensive than a court trial or a series of hearings, however if spouses are unable to resolve issues amicably, additional legal costs can occur.

If you’d like to find out more about how to achieve an amicable separation and the options available to you then you can get in touch with Caroline at caroline.swain@bpsfamilylaw.co.uk or by telephone on 0161 926 1430.