COVID-19 | Too much time together….are you think­ing of leav­ing the Fam­i­ly Home?

Social dis­tanc­ing and trav­el restric­tions dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic is cre­at­ing stress on fam­i­lies. This stress is height­ened sig­nif­i­cant­ly if you want to sep­a­rate from your part­ner. If you find your­self in a posi­tion when you can­not take it any­more and want to leave the fam­i­ly home, it is impor­tant that you put some things in place before you do. Remem­ber once you leave the fam­i­ly home, you may not be able to return. 

Here is a short list of some things you should think about before you leave the fam­i­ly home, which may make the sep­a­ra­tion process less stressful. 

  1. Obtain legal advice from an Accred­it­ed Fam­i­ly Law Spe­cial­ist so that you under­stand what steps you should take now.
  2. If you are expe­ri­enc­ing domes­tic vio­lence, report the vio­lence to the police.
  3. Change your passwords/​PIN codes/​logins on your accounts and devices (such as your com­put­er, ipad/​tablet, mobile phone, bank accounts, cred­it cards, Facebook/​Twitter accounts, emails, I‑cloud, pay­pal acounts).
  4. Take with you any items that are sen­ti­men­tal such as pho­tos or fam­i­ly heirlooms.
  5. Take with you all your per­son­al doc­u­ments (and the chil­dren’s if they are leav­ing with you) such as pass­ports, licences, birth cer­tifi­cates, mar­riage cer­tifi­cate, med­ical records, Medicare and health insur­ance cards).
  6. Take with you all your finan­cial doc­u­ments (such as your tax­a­tion returns, finan­cial reports, ATO notices of assess­ment, bank account state­ments, cred­it card state­ments, trust deeds, com­pa­ny doc­u­ments, infor­ma­tion evi­denc­ing your assets and lia­bil­i­ties both before and after you com­menced your rela­tion­ship, share cer­tifi­cates, super­an­nu­a­tion state­ments, pay slips).
  7. Take copies of any joint doc­u­ments such as bank account state­ments, cred­it card state­ments, mort­gage state­ments, prenup­tial or domes­tic rela­tion­ship agreements.
  8. If you are not tak­ing the computer/​laptop with you, back up all of your per­son­al infor­ma­tion and finan­cial doc­u­ments from the device on a USB and delete any of your per­son­al information.
  9. Organ­ise a mail redi­rec­tion and change your address notices as soon as possible.
  10. Open a bank account in your sole name and redi­rect your income to that account.
  11. Con­sid­er the joint bank accounts and mort­gages that you have with your part­ner. You may need to restrict access to pre­vent funds from being with­drawn and/​or you may need to with­draw sur­plus funds to finan­cial­ly sup­port your­self and/​or the chil­dren until suit­able arrange­ments can be put in place. Remem­ber to keep invoic­es and receipts for any mon­ey that you spend, so that you can prove the expen­di­ture was used to meet rea­son­able liv­ing expenses.
  12. Make enquiries with Cen­tre­link regard­ing any child sup­port and/​or gov­ern­ment assis­tance that you may be enti­tled to. 

Know­ing your rights ear­ly may help you reach an ami­ca­ble set­tle­ment with your part­ner more quick­ly, so it is vital that you obtain advice ear­ly on. 

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please con­tact Car­o­line at Swaab on 02 9233 5544 or cxb@​swaab.​com.​au