Family Focus Legal’s Separation Guide  

https://familyfocuslegal.com.au/what-is-a-child-impact-report/

Separation is often one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. At Family Focus Legal, we pride ourselves on empowering our clients to feel secure and prepared to take on the separation process in a safe and practical way.

Below is a summary of tasks to consider in the event you have separated, or are contemplating separation:

PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY

If you are a victim of family violence, or are being harassed or intimidated by your former partner, you should contact the Police immediately. They can assist you and may obtain an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order for your protection.

If you will remain in the matrimonial home, you should change the locks to prevent your former partner from entering the property.

CONSULT WITH A LAWYER

Book in to speak with one of Family Focus Legal’s lawyers to discuss your obligations and entitlements.

We can provide you with in-depth advice about the separation process, negotiation strategies, and (where applicable) the expected outcome of your matter.  

Equipping yourself with a strong support team is the first step to achieving a resolution.

KEEP A NOTE OF THE DATE YOU SEPARATED

This date is relevant as it determines when you may be eligible to file an Application for Divorce (if you were married).

In the event you were in a de-facto relationship, this date determines the timeframe that you may commence proceedings against your former partner in the event you are unable to negotiate a resolution out of Court.

GATHER YOUR PERSONAL DOCUMENTS

Gather your personal documents such as birth certificates, identification documents, marriage certificate, bank statements and any other important documents you wish to retain after separation.

This will provide you with the security of knowing where your personal documents are, and ensure you are aware of the details of any bank accounts that you were not ordinarily responsible for managing during the relationship.  

GATHER YOUR BELONGINGS

If you do not intend to remain living in the family home, you should collect whatever belongings you wish to retain. It is often more difficult and costly to obtain belongings after you have left the home, particularly if your separation from your former partner is not amicable.

Take photographs or videos of the state of the home in the event you are concerns that your former partner may cause damage or neglect to the property.

CHILDREN’S PASSPORTS

Gather your children’s Passports to ensure that your former partner cannot unilaterally remove the children from Australia.

PROTECT YOUR FINANCES

Redirect your income to a bank account that only you can access.

You should consider closing any jointly held credit cards to prevent your former partner utilising the credit card post-separation.

For any joint mortgages/loan accounts which have a redraw facility – you should consider notifying the bank that any further drawdowns should only be made with the consent of both parties (i.e. enacting dual authorisation).

BILLS AND EXPENSES

If it is safe to communicate with your former partner, discuss which person/s will make payment of your mortgage or other bills that will become payable while you work towards a resolution of your financial separation.

FINANCIAL ADVICE

As lawyers, we cannot provide you with financial advice. If you intend to retain the family home as part of a property settlement with your former partner, you should contact a broker and accountant to determine your borrowing capacity and understand any tax implications of retaining the property.

SEVERING JOINT OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY

If you own any real property with your former partner as “Joint Tenants”, you should consider severing the tenancy so that you own the property as “Tenants in Common”. This means that your share of the property will not automatically transfer to your former partner in the event that you predecease them.

UPDATE YOUR PASSWORDS

Update your online passwords and pin-codes following separation to prevent your former partner from gaining access to personal information, email accounts, bank accounts etc. without your consent.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND WRITTEN COMMUNICATION

Be cautious not to write or post anything online that you do not wish a Judge to read. For example, any negative communications are likely to be screenshotted or recorded and used against you at a later date.

Where it is safe to communicate with your former partner, you should ensure that all communications represent you in a positive light.

You are not required to be your former partner’s best friend, but you should ensure that your communications are respectful.

If you have received abusive or threatening messages from your former partner, you should keep a record of those communications as it may be relevant evidence in the event Court proceedings are initiated.  

UPDATE YOUR WILL, POWER OF ATTORNEY AND ENDURING GUARDIANSHIP

Relationships and Estate Planning are closely linked.

You should update your Will, Enduring Guardianship and Enduring Power of Attorney to communicate your wishes in the event you pass away or become unable to manage your affairs.

Our team can provide you with advice about those documents and prepare them for you.  

CHILD SUPPORT

If you have children and are the children’s primary carer after separation, you should consider lodging an application for Child Support via the Child Support Agency.

You can use the Child Support Estimator on the Services Australia website to obtain an estimate of the amount of Child Support you may receive from or pay to your former partner.

If you and your partner are able to reach an agreement about the amount of Child Support payable, our team can provide you with further advice about entering into a Binding Child Support Agreement.

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

It is important that you remain well by looking after your body and mind. You should take good care of yourself so you can navigate separation with a clear head and make informed choices.

You may find engaging a counsellor or psychologist helpful in addressing the emotional challenges of separation. Our team can provide you with referrals for counselling/therapy services.

Ready to take the first step towards peace of mind?

Get in touch with our compassionate team, and let’s
discuss how we can support you and your family.