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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

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