Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Tips for women coping with family break-up, separation or divorce

2-minute read

It can be tough to deal with the problems you face after a separation or divorce. You might find yourself overworked, or feeling anxious and depressed.

You may feel unprepared or powerless if your partner has initiated the separation or divorce. You may be worried about finances, or about caring for your children, or not seeing them enough.

Here are some coping tips for separated or divorced women:

  • Accept that you will need time - Coming to terms with the separation won't be immediate.
  • Embrace your changing role - Don’t panic if your former partner did most of the practical jobs around the home or managed the family finances. You can learn to do these for yourself. Sign up for a DIY course or get some free financial counselling.
  • Don’t feel guilty - It takes two to end a relationship. Ask for help to deal with feelings of guilt or hopelessness. Talk to your doctor or trusted family and friends about how you are feeling.
  • Ask for help - There is a lot of help available, whether you are returning to the workforce after a period of time or trying to negotiate tricky legal issues. The online booklet Women and separation: Managing new horizons has a comprehensive list of services. If you are lesbian, bisexual, trans or intersex you may want to call QLife on 1800 184 527.
  • Don't be ashamed if you experienced domestic violence - Your partner’s violent behaviour isn’t your fault. If you are struggling with your feelings call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). This is the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service for people living in Australia.

If you or someone you know is at risk of harming themselves, before you seek professional help, call triple zero (000) or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.

Last reviewed: December 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Women and Separation - Managing New Horizons Relationships Australia

This booklet is for you if you are a woman who is going through a separation or divorce.

Read more on Relationships Australia website

Widow Allowance - Australian Government Department of Human Services

A payment for widowed, divorced or separated women over a set age. New claims for this payment closed on 1 July 2018.

Read more on Centrelink website

Safe from Violence - a guide for women following separation Relationships Australia

This booklet covers issues for women who are considering separation, or have separated from a violent partner.

Read more on Relationships Australia website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Family break-up

When a family breaks up it is usually difficult for everyone. It is like a death which brings with it feelings of grief and loss. Most people need time to get used to the changes and each person's response can be very different.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Women and separation

If you are a woman going through separation or divorce, this book is for you. Separation and divorce are among the toughest experiences you will ever have.

Read more on beyondblue website

Separation or divorce is a complex process what should I do? Relationships Australia

When a couple decides they want to separate, many decisions need to be made.

Read more on Relationships Australia website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Thinking separation

If you are thinking of ending your relationship, it is good to be realistic about what it might mean for everyone in the family. Children have no say in a separation but it changes their lives. It is important that they feel safe and secure.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Positive and respectful relationships Relationships Australia

Good relationships are good for you and good for your children. Its never too late to start working on improving your relationships.

Read more on Relationships Australia website

Positive and respectful relationships Relationships Australia

Good relationships are good for you and good for your children. Its never too late to start working on improving your relationships.

Read more on Relationships Australia website

Balancing Working and Parenting | myVMC

Work life balance refers to an individual's ability to balance work and personal commitments. There are many challenges faced by men and women as they attempt to find and maintain a balance between work and parenting.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo