Your Sep­a­ra­tion Checklist

In Brief

Think­ing of sep­a­rat­ing from your part­ner or are you already sep­a­rat­ed? To pro­tect you and your fam­i­ly here are some things to consider.

When cou­ples sep­a­rate or one par­ty decides to end the rela­tion­ship there are lots of things that need to be sort­ed out. Sep­a­ra­tion takes its toll on peo­ple emo­tion­al­ly espe­cial­ly when one has to start the dis­cus­sions of the sep­a­ra­tion with their part­ner, chil­dren and extend­ed fam­i­ly.

You will have some dif­fi­cult deci­sions to make dur­ing your sep­a­ra­tion, like:

  • Will you stay in the house togeth­er dur­ing separation?
  • If not who is going to move out of the house? 
  • Who will pay for which expenses?
  • What will the arrange­ments be for the chil­dren — where will they pri­mar­i­ly live and when will the oth­er par­ent see them?

Seek­ing legal advice early

In order for you to ensure you have the prop­er assis­tance dur­ing this time, it is cru­cial that you seek legal advice as ear­ly as pos­si­ble. Seek­ing legal advice ear­ly is your first step to a well nego­ti­at­ed and friend­ly set­tle­ment being reached.

At Swaab we recog­nise the impor­tance of a legal team you can trust and rely on and who will help you through this time so that you move to the next phase of your life and are able to rebuild your future with confidence.

Your Sep­a­ra­tion Checklist

Here is a check­list of some prac­ti­cal things for you to con­sid­er upon separation:

  • Make an appoint­ment to see a lawyer as soon as pos­si­ble. Know­ing your rights ear­ly will pro­tect you and your chil­dren, your assets and hope­ful­ly pre­vent court action and help you reach an ami­ca­ble solution.
  • Sit down and try to talk to your part­ner about your sep­a­ra­tion and see if you are able to agree on inter­im arrange­ments for the chil­dren’s and each oth­er’s sup­port includ­ing the liv­ing arrange­ments dur­ing the separation.
  • Try get legal advice before you move out of your home as it’s often rec­om­mend­ed to stay there. There are things to con­sid­er as to whether it is best to move out or stay.
  • If your part­ner leaves with the chil­dren, try to set up arrange­ments as soon as pos­si­ble to see them reg­u­lar­ly and make sure that the chil­dren have your mobile num­ber so they can con­tact you. If the chil­dren are stay­ing with you set up arrange­ments for your part­ner to spend time with them.Make sure the arrange­ments are appro­pri­ate for their ages.
  • If you move out con­sid­er what per­son­al items to take with you such as fam­i­ly pho­tos, items of sen­ti­men­tal val­ue and heir­looms. You could slow down a nego­ti­at­ed set­tle­ment if you take things with­out speak­ing to your part­ner first.It’s true that many of these items can be divid­ed lat­er but if you don’t want to be side­tracked by a dis­pute over a sen­ti­men­tal item lat­er, you might con­sid­er tak­ing it when you leave. Also take your per­son­al papers and com­put­er with you.
  • If you do move out you will need to lodge the nec­es­sary change of address notices as soon as pos­si­ble and have your mail held or redi­rect­ed. Don’t rely on your part­ner to for­ward impor­tant mail to you unopened.
  • You might con­sid­er open­ing a post office box in your name so you can eas­i­ly receive your mail with­out fear of it being opened by your part­ner if you sep­a­rate under the one roof.
  • Set up a new email address if there is any chance your part­ner can access your cur­rent email address. Chang­ing pass­words to any accounts your part­ner might have access to is also recommended.
  • Check and print out bal­ances of all bank­ing accounts, home loans, term deposits, invest­ments, store cards, cred­it cards, over­drafts and lines of cred­it. Con­sid­er chang­ing pass­words to any per­son­al bank­ing infor­ma­tion your part­ner may have access to.
  • Keep an eye on account bal­ances and any move­ments in them. Get legal advice if you notice any­thing unusual.
  • If your part­ner leaves and takes a car reg­is­tered in your name or joint names you will need to make sure that it remains reg­is­tered and insured​.As the own­er you are still liable for loss­es if there is an accident.
  • Vis­it the Depart­ment of Human Ser­vices web­site to esti­mate the amount of child sup­port payable and The Child Sup­port web­site for infor­ma­tion about how to apply to pay or receive child sup­port and how much will be payable.
  • Have lawyers doc­u­ment any finan­cial or par­ent­ing agree­ments you reach. If it is not prop­er­ly doc­u­ment­ed it won’t be bind­ing and enforceable.
  • Copy finan­cial infor­ma­tion and oth­er impor­tant doc­u­ments on your com­put­er to a CD or USB drive.
  • Even if you are sep­a­rat­ing under the one roof take copies of all the impor­tant per­son­al doc­u­ments togeth­er such as pass­ports, birth cer­tifi­cates, mar­riage cer­tifi­cates, cit­i­zen­ship cer­tifi­cates, med­ical records, bank records, super­an­nu­a­tion state­ments and school reports.
  • Assets acquired or received after sep­a­ra­tion will be tak­en into account in a set­tle­ment so con­sid­er get­ting legal advice soon­er rather than later.
  • If vio­lence, intim­i­da­tion or harass­ment are in issue make an appoint­ment with the Cham­ber Mag­is­trate or go to your Local Police to ascer­tain whether you should apply for an Appre­hend­ed Domes­tic Vio­lence Order.

To make an appoint­ment to ensure you will be able to relax know­ing that your mat­ter is in our hands and that you are get­ting the best advice pos­si­ble to assist you dur­ing this time, please con­tact our fam­i­ly law team.