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Expert Opinion Panel
Stephen Page - Lawyer

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Staying sane when breaking up

Stephen Page | 12 April 2013

Staying sane when splitting up  - Stock Photo

Here are the top 9 things to do...

to stay sane after a breakup!

Probably the hardest job that exists in the world is being a single mum or dad after a breakup.

Having to go through a relationship breakup with all the pain associated with that - loss, being financially devastated from the breakup, and most importantly caring for children - is extraordinarily difficult.

Just because lots of people go through it doesn't make it any easier.

Here are the top 9 things to do to stay sane after a breakup...

  1. Laugh

    It may sound strange to say to laugh after a breakup, but whatever you do, don't lose your sense of humour no matter how bleak your circumstances. It will make it easier to bounce back.

  2. Let go of being angry

    Being assertive and insisting on rights or the protection of children is not the same as being angry. In the very short term anger may be an appropriate emotion. It can cause us to focus on actions, but in the medium and longer term it leads to bitterness and it will drive away everyone you ever loved, including your children. Don't poison the world

  3. Counselling

    It's essential in my view that you talk to someone who is trained, dispassionate and objective and hopefully supportive, namely a good counsellor

  4. Stay safe

    Domestic violence is all too prevalent and it's essential that both you and your kids are safe.

  5. Have a support network

    I can't emphasise how important it is to have family and friends who can help you through the most difficult of times. Often the process of talking through the problem will help solve those problems. Avoid doing it around the children. They don't need to hear adult talk.

  6. Get fit

    There is no excuse not to be fit. By exercising you feel better from being stronger and fitter. You absorb oxygen and you release endorphins. One of the beautiful side effects of exercise is clearing the mind of the build-up of rubbish that exists every day, which is completely refreshing.

  7. If needs to be, get a good lawyer

    This isn't suggesting that you should be going out for a fight. But it's important that if you need to, to get good legal advice about money matters or children.

  8. As far as possible, be financially secure

    This may mean going to Centrelink, and asking for child support. It may mean having to get a job, but the greater financial independence you have the greater your independence overall.

  9. Despite all the hardship, recognise that you are free!

go to Stephen Page's Biography

Stephen Page is a partner of Harrington Family Lawyers, one of Brisbane's oldest boutique family law firms, and is also a member of the Expert Opinion Panel. Admitted in 1987, Stephen has been an accredited family law specialist since 1996. A co-founder of a domestic violence service, Stephen has been a member since 1999 of a committee for a court based domestic violence service and since 2008 a board member of a charity linking business with the domestic violence more of Stephen Page's Profile here

Read more exclusive Single Mum Lifestyle articles

This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of This article contains only general information, correct at the date of publication. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. Read the full Disclaimer here

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

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