Monday, 11 December 2017

Jingle Bells

Christmas is a special time of year for children and their parents. The Christmas traditions of spending time together as a family celebrating can be difficult to master for separated parents especially if their children are not going to be with them for the festive period. It can be a time of sadness, loneliness and disappointment for some. What is important to remember though is that Christmas should be a happy time for our children.

So how can separated parents achieve happiness for their children at Christmas?
  1. Plan ahead – don’t wait until December to start communicating with the other parent over arrangements for your children. Start early and Christmas has a chance of being less stressful for all concerned. Once arrangements have been made ensure you stick to them.
  2. Put your children first not you – we can all become selfish and demanding over our time and the time we spend with our children.
  3. The relationship with your former partner is not a competition – it is not about the amount of time you spend with your children but the quality of that time.
  4. Don’t look back – don’t compare this Christmas to previous ones. Embrace the change and be positive. Remember also to look after yourself and ensure you are not alone on over the Christmas period.
  5. Set financial goals and discuss gifts with your former partner – avoid trying to outdo the other parent or duplicating gifts.
  6. Remind family members that Christmas may be different this year if it is the first year following separation but to remain positive when the children are around. Ensure there are no negative comments made about or towards your former partner.
If you are struggling to reach an agreement with your former partner concerning your children this holiday time then call us and arrange an initial free consultation. We can assist you in collaboratively moving forward for the benefit of your children and you.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Dust off your trainers

Coping with the pain, low self-esteem and lack of security that often accompany a separation can be difficult to manage or even to know where to start. Like every loss, you must allow yourself a time to grieve. But there comes a time when you need to take control and move forward be it for yourself or for your children. It is a time when you can throw out the old and bring in the new, to cleanse and spring clean your life.

A separation may not be the outcome you had hoped for but see it as a chance to reinvent yourself and as an exciting time in your life

Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you are in the midst of a separation or divorce but is a staple of your self-care. Exercise can help lower stress and anxiety by stimulating the production of positive hormones and is known to ward off depression and helps us to channel our emotions through physical activity. Twenty to thirty minutes daily is enough for us to derive the benefits of exercise. Supplementing your diet with extra vitamin B has also shown to have positive effect on our mental well-being.

Joining a gym or taking part in an organised exercise class will enable you to meet new people and socialise in addition to the actual exercise building your confidence and self-esteem. You may not feel ready to participate in group classes but a walk around the park can be just as beneficial. Here are six well known benefits of regular exercise:

1.       Improves your mood
2.       Boosts energy
3.       Controls weight
4.       Combats health conditions
5.       Promotes a good night’s sleep
6.       It’s sociable

But remember this is a new journey you are embarking upon to regain your sense of self, happiness and to reduce stress. Choose an activity that suits you and what you want to achieve. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time or have health problems or any concerns.

Finally enjoy it!

Contact for more information or if you would like to talk to one of us further.

Monday, 2 October 2017

From Stress to Success

If you are, or someone you know is, one of the many people who find themselves either embracing a new life this year or forced into it, there are five key things we encourage people to consider:

1. What will the journey be like?

It seems everyone has a friend who has separated. So often, the friends have had a hideous experience with family lawyers and the court system and are full of doom and gloom. It’s really important to decide at the outset what you would like the tone of your separation to be. It may be that your separated partner doesn’t want the same journey as you, but it’s a start to know what you want it to be.

If you have kids, is it important to you to be able to functionally co-parent? Do you want to amicably resolve things and move on with your life? Are you happy to spend lots of money and emotional energy having a big court battle or would you rather resolve things far away from the court process?

2. Be supported by those around you, but seek professional advice.

As separation is so common, many people think they are experts. ‘Oh, you’re a mum with the kids – you will get 75%. That’s what my cousin got’ ‘Mate you won’t have to pay her spousal maintenance, my friend from work doesn’t pay anything to his wife’ etc. Family law relies heavily on assessing individual circumstances so what happens for one family won’t happen in the same way for the next.

By all means, be supported by your friends, but don’t rely on what they say about practicalities. Seek professional advice about your situation.

3. Decide what advice you need

It can be a good idea to start with speaking to a lawyer as they can act like your project manager and refer you for psychological, financial and other advice as required. If you see a lawyer who has trained in collaborative practice, they will have a strong emphasis on helping you resolve matters between you in a way that keeps you out of court.

Some people choose to start with seeing a mediator – an independent third party who can help them to have constructive conversations about their arrangements post-separation.

Alternatively, you could start with a child psychologist to discuss arrangements for the children, or with a financial planner or accountant to discuss property settlement and income support. Whichever path you choose, we recommend at least speaking to a lawyer about any potential agreement and how to make sure your arrangements are made binding.

4. Putting things in writing

Remember anything you put in writing to your ex, by email, text etc. can be attached to an affidavit and presented to the court if you end up there. Any even apart from that, words have impact. Think very carefully before you initiate communication of any kind and make sure you re-read anything you’re writing to think about the impact on the person receiving it.

5. If you have kids, take note

The research overwhelmingly concludes that children do okay when their parents separate, provided they are not in the middle of conflict. Remember, your child is half their mum and half their dad. 

Don’t criticize your ex around your children and don’t expose them to any arguments between you. 

Children need to be free to love and enjoy time with both of their parents. Although separation is often painful, with the right support and with time, it will be okay. 

Contact for more information or if you would like to talk to one of us further.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Children – What do they really want?

As the school term comes to an end, so do many of our children’s winter sporting activities. Just when you think you are going to regain your weekends and have lazy Saturday morning brunches the booking forms and emails are circulating for spring/summer activities.

What will it be this season – cricket, basketball, netball, tennis, athletics? The list is endless with one child wanting to do one activity and the other child wanting to do another which of course demands being in a different place at a different time to the other. But do our children really want to do all the after-school activities we sign them up for?

What is important to our children is quite often very different to what we as their parents perceive as being important to them. Many parents today feel as though we aren’t ‘good enough’ and want our children to have every opportunity available to them that we ourselves did not have as a child. Often racing from one activity to another thinking we are doing the best for our children but it doesn’t feel the same for our children who are potentially feeling tired, overstretched and emotionally drained. Quite often separated parents feel the need to overindulge their children to compensate for their family home having been broken. Children, however have a far more simplistic view on life which involves having a routine of sleep, friendships, food and school.

If you have five minutes to spare stop and reflect upon your own childhood. What do you recall? Is it being taken to activities every week after school, trips to museums, the cinema or is it the small gestures from your parents, staying home for some down time on a weekend, family time?

Ask your children what is important to them and you may find they give you completely different answers to those you think. Here are a few:

1.       Tuck me in at bedtime and talk to me about our day

2.       Hugs and kisses

3.       Listening to me

4.       One on one time without my sibling

5.       Discipline me

6.       Snuggle on the sofa and watch a movie together

7.       Playing outside

Contact for more information or if you would like to talk to one of us further.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Should I stay or should I go?

Not only are they the lyrics to a famous song by ‘The Clash’ but words that often echo over and over when one is contemplating separating from their partner. Will the grass be greener on the other side or should I “shut up and put up”?

You may be thinking I’ve given this relationship my all, I have nothing more to give. You may have tried Counselling to get back on track or confided in a close friend or family member but things still aren’t right. You may be thinking I will wait until the children have finished their education or are old enough to understand.

There is never a ‘right’ time but what is important is that if you are contemplating a separation that you are well informed and have the right support network around you to guide you through the transition and to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your children.

At Bayside Collaborative we can explore with you your hopes and fears for the future, arrangements for your children and your financial needs but we also work collaboratively with a number of Psychologists and Financial Planners who can also assist you the decision making process and future planning needs.

Contact us today for more information at

Monday, 11 September 2017

My house or yours?

Invariably within any household there is inequality in terms of income. Decisions are often made that one parent will be the ‘bread winner’ whilst the other will be the ‘home maker’ and ‘carer’ for the children of the family. Those practical decisions work when the family is together as a whole but what happens following a separation?

One house becomes two, two incomes become one.

The parent who assumed the role of home maker may struggle to make ends meet, may need to secure employment or an increase in working hours whilst the other parent may see little change in their financial need and obligations.

Common question I hear during collaborative meetings are – how are we going to manage? How am I going to be able to afford a house let alone a house close to the children’s school? I won’t be able to afford to meet all of the financial demands myself?

Children may experience very different lives at each of their respective parent’s homes – enjoying the luxuries they were used to as a family with one parent whilst living a more modest life with the other.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Part of the collaborative process enables separating couples to discuss how they are going to afford to make ends meet and where there are shortfalls how those needs can be met from the asset pool. The separation process is never easy and should not be one in which the children suffer the consequences of their parents separation. With determination and focus throughout the Collaborative process on the needs of the children of the family, financial shortfalls can be remedied. 

Contact Bayside Collaborative for more information

Monday, 28 August 2017


We never seem to have enough of it do we?

There are always so many demands placed upon our time and far too often we can’t help but say yes placing greater pressure upon ourselves. As Eve of our office boards the plane to return home to her family she is sat thinking about the fun filled five days she has just spent with her sisters and aunts and what awaits her when she returns home to her husband and children.

She was skipping to get on the plane and really looking forward to girlie conversations, shopping and most importantly a full night’s sleep without being awoken by children. But now, on her return, she is looking forward to the cuddles on the sofa, to being the taxi taking the children to their after school activities and the mediator when disputes arise.

What she has realised over the last week is that it is important to take time out, to recharge and to be yourself. This makes you appreciate far more what is awaiting you at home. The small details like the house not being tidy, the dishes not washed are not important and can wait. What is important is finding time to be yourself and finding time for your family.

At Bayside Collaborative Family Lawyers, we often hear from our clients they feel taken for granted, that what they do is not appreciated or acknowledged by their spouse, partner or children and that their family has drifted apart.

How then do you find time for yourself whilst at the same time balancing the demands placed upon you from work, school and family life? No matter how busy you are it is important to take time to focus on you.

Here are some handy tips for rebalancing your schedule:
  • Learn to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty.
  • Ask for help and learn to delegate – draw up a schedule of weekly tasks and chores for your children to do.
  • If finance permit outsource tasks such as gardening, cleaning, ironing.
  • Accept not doing things perfectly all the time.
  • Schedule in some free time for yourself and for you and your family to be together, this could be a date night with your partner, going to the beach or park with the family, walking the dog or simply some down time at home.
  • Put down the electronic devices – it is far too easy today to look at your phone or tablet as soon as you awake, five minutes can turn into 30 minutes placing more pressure on your already tight time schedule.
  • Exercise – be it at home, going to a class or the gym or simply spending time outside your mental and physical health will improve.

We must ensure we find the time to jump off the hamster wheel and reconnect with ourselves and those we love around us.