Emotional impact of proceedings

Adjusting to separation is a process and people rarely feel the same emotions at the same time.

It is normal for your feelings and moods to change frequently as you move through this process.

People have different rates of adjustment and if you hold on to unhelpful feelings for too long you may need to seek expert help from a counsellor or psychologist. You can visit Family Relationships Online for information on support services.

Feelings you may experience can include denial, disbelief, a sense of loss, grief, shock, anger, guilt, confusion, sadness or a sense of failure. It is important to remember these are all normal mood changes.

Your reactions may be different to the other party, depending on issues such as whether you instigated the separation, or if you have had to move out of your home. Managing your reactions helps children cope with the separation. Children tend to pick up on their parents’ emotional states, either directly or indirectly. It is important to remember they are also experiencing their own loss and grief and trying to make sense of their world as it changes.

Children and separation

The Family Court of Australia website has information about children and separation. Children aged between birth and 5 are also affected by parental separation and you may notice some of the following behaviours in your child or children:

You can help children of all ages in the following ways:

Children who witness family violence may:

For more advice on dealing with the emotional impact of changing family situations, visit the Family Court of Australia’s page Getting Help.


Last updated: 16-Apr-2018

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