There have been two cases in the media recently where family
matters, with separated parents and custody issues of the children,
have ended tragically. After the case of the missing father and his
four year old daughter in Northern NSW, we have seen a similar
story unfold in Melbourne last week with the death of an 11 year
old boy and his father. Unfortunately, matters whereby people harm
themselves or others as a consequence of marital breakdown are far
As family lawyers, whilst we are able to identify potential
warning signs, we are simply not trained to assist clients in
dealing with those feelings. We know, through experience, that the
family law process can cause stress, financial hardship and
feelings of loss and uncertainty. For parents, the prospect of
spending less time with your children, or the fear of them
relocating interstate or overseas, is difficult to process and
For that reason, two things are imperative. Firstly, knowledge
of what the process will be, and the potential risks and problems,
must be obtained. Often times it is the uncertainty that causes the
most concern. It is possible for people to worry about things that
are unlikely to come to fruition or conversely, be unaware of
potential outcomes. By obtaining professional advice at the outset,
you will be better informed about the likely outcomes and that will
assist in reducing the stress of your situation.
Secondly, and more importantly, if you begin to feel
overwhelmed, depressed, angry or as if the whole situation is
hopeless, you must seek professional assistance. It is very
difficult to obtain a perspective of your situation whilst you are
in the midst of it, and to have objectivity in relation to what you
are going through. There are many professionals that work in the
family law area that are well equipped to assist you in obtaining
the appropriate help. Counsellors, financial advisors and single
parent support groups can all provide support on how to deal with
the enormous pressure that you are under.
Family breakdowns are never easy and it is very hard to grasp
the changes in your life, particularly where children are involved.
By obtaining the correct assistance and advice you will put
yourself in a better position to understand and accept these
changes. The most important thing for everyone involved is to
always put the best interests of the children first.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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