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10 Tips for Separating Couples

10 Tips for Separating Couples

Published on September 2, 2022 by Anne KinnearAnne Kinnear

Have you recently separated from your partner?

Chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed with where to start and worried about navigating what can be a complicated process. The following 10 tips provide some guidance to the early stages of separation and are intended to make the process a little smoother for all involved.

1. Safety

If you have fears for your own safety or for your children’s safety, you should contact the police.

There are also domestic violence services which provide a range of services for victims of family violence including:

  • Your local domestic violence shelter; or
  • 1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732

2. Children

If it is appropriate and safe to do so, talk to the other parent about arrangements for your children.

It is important to remember that any agreement you reach with the other parent should focus on the children’s best interests including their physical and emotional wellbeing, and not on whether the agreement is fair to each parent.

3. Look after yourself!

If you are struggling with the breakdown of your relationship, you should seek professional assistance either from your GP or a mental health care professional. There are many services available which include:

  • Lifeline: call 13 11 14 or text 0477 131 141
  • Men’s Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78
  • Q Life: 1800 184 527

4. Leaving the Matrimonial Home

    Depending on your circumstances it may be advisable for you to leave the matrimonial home. If this is the case, you should ensure that you:

    a) Collect all of your personal belongings and any furniture that you wish to retain and take it with you when you leave.

    b) Take with you all financial or personal documents including passports, birth certificates, bank statements and payslips.

    c) Arrange to have your mail redirected to your new address.

    5. Passwords and Accounts

    It is very common in relationships for couples to share passwords. It is therefore crucial that after separation you change all of your passwords and pin numbers. This may include social media, bank apps and credit cards.

    You should also consider contacting your financial institution to make arrangements to require both parties’ signatures for withdrawals from savings accounts and redraw facilities on home loans.

    6. Communication

    If it is appropriate and safe to do so you should keep the communication channels open with your former partner.

    Until the matter is settled you will need to continue to work together to resolve any issues which have arisen out of the breakdown of the relationship. It is much more cost effective and time efficient for both parties if you are able to be open and honest with each other.

    This is particularly important if you have children as the co-parenting relationship may continue for many years to come.

    7. Finances

    Going from one household to two with the same income can cause a significant financial burden for separating couples. It is important to:

    a) Establish a monthly budget

    b) Establish how any shortfall will be dealt with.

    c) Know your position in relation to assets and liabilities.

    If you are concerned about making ends meet, you should contact Centrelink to see if you are eligible for financial assistance.

    You may also apply for a child support assessment.

    8. Be mindful of your actions

    Separation is a difficult time for all involved. Emotions are heightened and it can be very tempting to vent about your former partner (or their new partner) on social media or to your children/in front of your children.

    It is important to give yourself time to calm down before saying or doing something that may well interfere with a successful negotiation of your separation or be used against you in a court of law.

    9. Wills, Enduring Guardian & Power of Attorney

    Separation will not alter your existing estate documents however divorce will. Therefore it is essential that you make or review your will, power of attorney, enduring guardianship, and binding death nominees for your superannuation fund so that your estate goes to the person/s you intend to benefit.

    10. Consult an experienced lawyer for preliminary advice.

    Our team of experienced family lawyers are ready to help you with any matters arising from your separation. Please call us at Carroll & O’Dea on 1800 216 934.

    Need help? Contact us now.

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