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.
- Obtain legal advice from an Accredited Family Law Specialist so that you understand what steps you should take now.
- If you are experiencing domestic violence, report the violence to the police.
- 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).
- Take with you any items that are sentimental such as photos or family heirlooms.
- 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).
- 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).
- Take copies of any joint documents such as bank account statements, credit card statements, mortgage statements, prenuptial or domestic relationship agreements.
- 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.
- Organise a mail redirection and change your address notices as soon as possible.
- Open a bank account in your sole name and redirect your income to that account.
- 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 You may need to restrict access to prevent funds from being withdrawn and/or you may need to withdraw surplus funds to financially support yourself and/or the children until suitable arrangements can be put in place.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.
- 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 [email protected]swaab.com.au