13 July 2015, Written by Jenna Rathbone


AFTER 14 years practising as a family lawyer, Clarissa Rayward has seen firsthand the impact of separation and divorce on more than 2000 Australian couples.

The director of the Brisbane Family Law Centre says this experience has helped her to realise that the most successful divorces are those where separating couples work together to plan a life apart.

With this in mind, the Brisbane-based solicitor has launched a new book called Splitsville: how to separate, stay out of court and stay friends - a guide for families to navigate the legal issues associated with relationship breakdowns.

Rayward says Splitsville aims to assist clients in finding a way to consciously and respectfully fall out of love with respect, dignity and "even some grace".

"Why is it that we can't see a divorce as part of a marriage - the part where you can constructively say 'thank you' for the experiences and time shared together," she says.

"With close to half of all marriages ending in divorce, it's time we rethink the term - it shouldn't be a scary word, or a dirty word or something we are embarrassed by.

"A divorce should be seen as a part of a marriage that when managed well we can look back on with pride."

Rayward, says her latest book is a useful guide to help separating couples navigate through the legal issues around relationship breakdowns and onto the path of a successful future.

"I wanted to help people understand the complex language around the legal process," she says.

"It's about empowering people with the knowledge they need to negotiate sensible and sustainable agreements for their finances and their children.

"If you find yourself in the family court process you are 'buying' a decision maker - a person who knows very little about you and almost nothing about your values and who will ultimately tell you how much time you will spend with your children and how much of your hard-earned money you can retain."

Rayward has developed a 10-step plan to help clients stay out of court.  

Otherwise known as 'The Happy Family Lawyer', Rayward specialises in helping couples stay out of court and work together to reach a resolution to their relationship breakdown.

Rayward is the director of the Brisbane Family Law Centre, a multidisciplinary practice where lawyers work alongside counsellors and nancial planners to ensure that clients receive the holistic support they need.

The official launch of Splitsville will take place on 23 July - CLICK HERE for more information. 

Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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