A lot has been written on the huge financial impact sickness, workplace accidents and the like have on the business community.

However, very little attention has been given to the effects a breakdown of a relationship has on a person’s office productivity.

Up to 50% of marriages now end in divorce, with the trend increasing. De facto and Same Sex relationships are similarly affected.

Accordingly, a very large percentage of the workforce is directly affected and involved. Indirectly, virtually everyone is involved in some way in the process, whether as a family member, confidante or sympathetic work colleague.

There are the obvious and immediate impact on the business, such as absenteeism. Then there is the distraction of the staff member seeking support from within the office during those difficult times. Less obvious are the mistakes that are made due to being distracted, lack of motivation, sometimes for long periods of time, and lack of positive initiative.

When a valued employee is affected in this way, the impact on the organisation can be devastating. There are even instances where a separation of senior executives or proprietors has created doubts in the minds of all employees as to the long term viability of the business, with the resultant debilitating consequences. The legal process can also be quite stressful. Several attendances at Court may be required, as well as counselling when children are involved.

Given the above, a concerned employer would observe that it is important to see that the process is carried through quickly and efficiently. Appropriate and sensitive support from the organisation would be beneficial. At the very minimum, the staff member should obtain counselling and competent legal advice. Whilst legal action may not be contemplated and indeed may not ever be necessary, at least in this way, many popular misconceptions regarding the ramifications of the separation can be disabused. Knowing their options and likely outcome at an early stage is vital. If action is required for the benefit of the employee, then it can be taken sooner rather than later.

The concerned employee is faced with a different problem. How to subtly (or perhaps not so subtly) get the boss to recognise their behaviour is impacting badly, and to get them to talk to the trusted adviser, be it the accountant, financial planner or business lawyer.

It is appreciated that different people react differently to the stress of a separation. By pointing the person in the right direction, the prospects of a speedy recovery can be greatly enhanced. This is particularly so if the work environment provides sympathetic and positive support during these difficult times.

Separations are unavoidable. When they do occur, it is important that they are dealt with quickly and with dignity. Providing appropriate support to an employee bolsters that objective, for everyone’s benefit.

Call (03) 9078 6980 or enquire online for the complete personalised approach to separation without court.

Author: Peter Szabo – Director, Peter Szabo Family Law

Rated as a leading family lawyer in the Doyle’s Guide Family Law Review with over 35 years specialising in Family Law and instructing law graduates on Family Law at the Leo Cussen Institute of Victoria.  Founding Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Accreditation Board for Family Law Specialists in Victoria (the first law speciality in Australia).
Trained Collaborative lawyer and a Trained Mediator
Author (since 1985) Family Law Practice Manual
Author (since 1996) Tax Issues in Family Law – the difference between Hacking and Carving

Specialist Family Law – Victorian Law Institute
Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (by invitation only – www.iafl.com