We have created a “to do” list to help you get started:-
GIVE COUNSELLING A GO
Relationship counselling is a must for anyone considering separation. Your family situation may benefit from counselling for yourself, your children or together as a family unit.
MAKE A PLAN FOR THE CHILDREN
Now that your relationship is over – what are your plans for your children?
GATHER YOUR FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS
Under the Family Law Act 1975 any party to a separation is obligated to make full financial disclosure to the other. Documents that you will need include, but are not limited to, bank statements, taxation returns, pay slips, settlement statements from the sale and purchase of property etc.
OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE
You need to know where you stand having regard to your circumstances. All property settlements and parenting arrangements are different. The outcome for your neighbour, for example, in a property settlement may not be the same outcome for you. Getting good legal advice early and throughout a separation can save you thousands of dollars and time.
Sometimes an independent third party is all you need to get an agreement across the line.
PREPARE A BUDGET
You are most likely going from two incomes to one – a budget is essential. It is also important to track how much you are spending on rent, mortgage, food, children, schooling etc. Consider making a spreadsheet of your weekly spending.
Cancel access to credit cards and bank accounts and change passwords to those accounts. Change passwords to emails and social media accounts. If you can bear it limit your access to social media until your matter has been resolved and be very mindful about the posts that you make.
OBTAIN FINANCIAL ADVICE
It may be the case that fighting to keep the family home is not in your best interest. Get advice about what is the best thing for your financial future.
UPDATE YOUR SUPERANNUATION BENEFICIARY
You can do this at any time, there is no need to wait to be divorced or to finalise your property settlement.
PLAN WHERE YOU’LL LIVE & WHAT POSSESSIONS YOU’LL TAKE
Make sure you take sentimental items with you if/when you leave the former home as you may not have the opportunity to return.
OBTAIN A NEW WILL & ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY
Separation does not void a Will or Enduring Power of Attorney. If you do not want your former spouse receiving your assets when you pass away, or controlling your finances should you lose capacity, these documents need to be updated immediately.
KEEP CENTRELINK & THE CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY UP TO DATE
Your living arrangements and those of your children may change throughout your separation. To avoid going into debt, keep those organisations up to date.
KEEP A DIARY
It’s a good idea to keep a diary of any incidents that relate to children if you are having parenting issues.
LOOK AFTER YOU!
Separation can be hard and it is important to remember to look after yourself both mentally and physically. Find a hobby and surround yourself in people that care.