11 April 2013 The three most important things you should do when first separating

By Caroline Bass, Senior Associate

In brief - What to do when you’ve just separated

The three most important things to do are see a family lawyer, look after yourself and keep communication with your spouse friendly.

See a lawyer

Make an appointment to see a family lawyer. The best way to get the answers that you need is to speak to a professional who resolves these issues every day. The earlier you are aware of your legal rights, entitlements and responsibilities, the sooner you will be able to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with your spouse. Importantly, never sign any agreements with your spouse without seeking advice from a lawyer.

Look after yourself

Separation is an extremely stressful time and you must look after your physical and emotional wellbeing in order to be able to make decisions about your future and the future of your children. It is recommended that you surround yourself with a positive network of friends, engage a counsellor to assist with strategies for moving on and make sure that you eat properly and exercise regularly. Most importantly, take the time to consider what it is that you want from your future and then work towards those goals.

Keep communication with your spouse friendly

Keep the channels of communication open and respectful with your spouse. The more that you and your spouse can discuss the issues that need to be resolved, the more likely it is that you will be able to reach an amicable settlement sooner. Even though you may be hurt or angry, do not make empty threats or say things that you may regret later. These types of behaviours serve no benefit to you and in fact make the separation process longer, more difficult and more expensive than is necessary.

For further information please contact:

Caroline Bass, Partner  |  Phone: +61 2 9233 5544  |  Email:

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This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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