Family & Divorce

Top 10 tips for when you separate…

Have you separated? Are you overwhelmed by the number of things that must be dealt with in order to move on? As the song says "breaking up is hard to do" so if this is how you are feeling then you may find our top 10 tips helpful in getting back on top of and moving on with your life.

  1. Agree a separation date – it will be important to be able to establish a date of separation for property settlement and divorce application purposes.
  1. Change passwords and pin numbers. Think about what your ex-partner can see about you and your finances online including on social media – for this reason it is important to change all passwords as soon as your separation starts.
  1. Gather and copy important documents such as marriage certificate, birth certificates, passports, super and bank statements, wills, mortgages, Medicare and Centrelink documents etc.You should make arrangements to store these documents securely and if you are leaving the family home then you should take them with you.
  1. Treat your partner as you would treat a business partner – where possible you should try to communicate! Separation can only go one of two ways, and if it heads to divorce no one wants a bitter battle following a less than amicable separation.
  1. Stay in the house if possible – but if your (and any children’s) safety is at risk then you must put your safety first. If you do need to leave, make sure you arrange to have your bills delivered elsewhere, and arrange a mail redirection to your new address through the post office.
  1. Make arrangements for your children – where possible, and with the assistance of mediation, you should try to put in place care arrangements for the children that sees them having a meaningful relationship with both parents.  However, if their safety is at risk then you should seek assistance before putting arrangements in place.
  1. Contact Centrelink. Separation can often cause financial hardship, as there are often two households to run, with the same amount of income!You may be eligible for financial, rent and healthcare assistance.
  1. Sort out your finances – learn as much as you can about your financial circumstances and gather all documents you can including bank statements, mortgage statements, tax returns, superannuation statements, share portfolios, investments, trust deeds, financial statements and reports for companies and trusts. It is important that you know where you stand in terms of assets and liabilities of the relationship.
  1. Make or review your will – including changing or reviewing powers of attorney, beneficiaries to insurance and binding death nominees for super. If something were to happen to you during your period of separation, your existing will may be enforceable, or if there is no will, your partner may stand to benefit.
  1. And last but not least two golden rules:
    • Look after yourself.  As they say, fit your own oxygen mask first! If you are struggling with the fallout of your separation and feel anxious, depressed or overwhelmed seek help from your GP, a counsellor and any specialist to whom you may be referred; and
    • Get early legal advice! Our team of skilled, friendly and caring family lawyers are ready to discreetly and confidentially help you with any matters arising out of your separation.

Get in Touch!

To discuss anything in this article or any other family law issue, please call our team of experienced and caring family lawyers on 1800 730 842, or contact one of the authors of this blog via email. We can help guide you through the confusion this time often brings, and onto a path of clarity, wellbeing and a fresh start.

Wendy Barry – wbarry@tgb.com.au

Dina Paspaliaris – dpaspaliaris@tgb.com.au

Diana Dichiera – ddichiera@tgb.com.au