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Divorce and separation

Top tips on balancing divorce and work

By November 8, 2017November 22nd, 2017No Comments
Divorce and work

Balancing divorce and work is not easy

Balancing divorce and work is not easy but a recent article in Fast Company has some useful advice on managing your relationship breakdown/divorce and your job.

While it’s tempting to want to keep all the intimate details about your personal relationships completely private and separate from work, it’s suggested that there is good reason for you to have at least some confidential discussions about your relationship breakdown with your boss and/or HR personnel in your workplace.

The first thing to acknowledge with separation or divorce and work is that these events are undeniably a major life event and there will be some kind of impact on your work life. It is in both your interests and your employer’s for it to be understood that you are going through this difficult process.  Your employer can be reasonably expected to allow for some accommodations to occur during this time—such as your need for some extra flexibility in your schedule if you are dealing with court dates, legal meetings, property or parenting issues that may impinge on your usual work hours.  Unless your employer is aware of what you are facing, though, it is impossible for them to be as understanding as you need them to be.

Fast Company suggests “the key is to skip the sordid details and stick to logistics: you are getting divorced or legally separated, you are committed to staying on track with your responsibilities as usual, but you may require some schedule flexibility”. Be honest, but brief.

Secondly, your HR department may be able to give you crucial information. For example, things like superannuation, insurance and other practical financial considerations. They should also be able to advise you on what paperwork needs to be changed in relation to your employment.

Thirdly, having a discussion with a trusted boss can be fruitful in terms of working out a way forward to help you through the emotional financial strain that divorce and separation can often impose.  This may mean asking for a raise, or more hours, or “discussing a plan for advancement with your boss”, to put yourself in the best possible position for future financial stability. 

When considering career moves at this time,  Fast Company warns there are some moves you shouldn’t make hastily.  Never quit your job or turn down a big promotion.  Deliberately trying to minimise your income in order to reduce your spousal maintenance or child support payments, or so you can qualify for receiving more, never pays off. This be held against you in divorce proceedings and the ramifications on your future career and income are potentially infinite.

Other advice we consider useful in this article includes not taking calls from your lawyer during work hours, avoiding discussing your situation with other colleagues, and generally trying to keep your office your “safe haven during the chaos of a breakup”.

Read more from the original story:

Achieve Solutions offers similar advice to help manage divorce and work challenges.  They say:

  • Keep work and home separate.
  • Get support.
  • Focus on productive work.

They say quite rightly that going through a divorce is one of life’s most stressful events. Even when a split is amicable, adjusting to the life changes brought about by divorce can cause emotional turmoil, and it’s only natural for these feelings to affect your life—both at home and at work. Fortunately, you can take steps to help minimize this stress on the job.

  • Devote a segment of time each day to divorce details. If you have an attorney, use this time to provide information and facts she has requested. If you are on good terms with your ex, set aside time to discuss details of the divorce with him or her.
  • Have realistic expectations about your emotions. You are normal if you feel everything from rage to enormous relief. Remember, a mountain of emotions you’ve suppressed for years might come crashing down. Even if you are not angry, divorce is a major life change, and it will take time to adjust. Keep in mind that divorce is the death of a relationship. You will grieve in stages—with emotional issues surfacing for years afterward.
  • Take excellent care of your physical health. Eat a well-balanced diet, and consider a multi-vitamin to replenish B-complex vitamins your body will quickly use under stress. Be sure to exercise and get enough sleep.
  • Ask good friends to meet you after work. Ideally, they should work in another setting altogether. Try to talk out your most intense frustrations early on. Tell your friends, “I’ll try not to use you as a crying towel too long.” Otherwise, you may lose their support totally. If you feel you need more support, see a professional counselor or look for a support group.
  • Carve out time for relaxation. If you take a walk with friends, have a nutritious dinner, read and relax and get a good night’s sleep, you’ll awaken more refreshed to tackle your job the next day. Besides, recreation time can help you balance the emotional overload you’ll experience for some time.

Focus on productive work

  • When dealing with divorce and work do not share details with co-workers. While you may think chatting at work about your pain feels comforting, you will only supply grist for the gossip mill—starring you.
  • Try to avoid thinking about your situation at work. Instead, use work time to give your mind a break from your personal turmoil.
  • Use your work time in a wise and focused way. Stay absorbed in keeping everything on track for long-term payoffs—for you and your employer. For instance, force yourself to make phone calls you’ve been putting off. Tie up loose ends on major projects. Spend time outlining plans that require you to think creatively.
  • Stay in control on the job. The healthiness of staying “creative” on the job—planning meetings, devising work solutions and contacting new people to assist your employer’s business—will help you look and feel very much in control. Work may be your saving grace during a divorce. Failing to focus at work—with leftover work to bring home—will simply destroy your ability to control your personal life further.

Difficult divorces

All divorces are difficult, but some involve more animosity, fighting and legal and financial complications than others. In these cases, it may be even more difficult to remain focused when you are trying to balance divorce and work. If you find that in spite of taking steps to reduce stress you are still having trouble coping, seek help from a professional counselor or your employee assistance program. A counselor can help you cope with the painful feelings you are experiencing. Our Deakin offices are next to Relationships Australia and we strongly recommend them for support and advice.

Do you need legal advice in relation to your divorce?  Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.

Please note our blogs are not legal advice.  For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance.


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