Separation is undoubtedly a very difficult time in life. However, there are some steps you can take to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
If children are involved
If you have children, it is important to consider their emotional wellbeing when making decisions about their care arrangements, as separation can be stressful on children of any age.
You should keep a diary to record critical dates, including when the separation occurred, and who has spent time with the children and when.
It is also important to obtain an administrative child support assessment from Child Support. This will take into account the time the children spend with each parent and the parents’ respective incomes to determine any child support payments.
Step 1: Sort out your finances
If you can, close all joint accounts you currently hold with your partner and direct your money into a personal account. If this isn’t possible, you may consider opening a separate account and have all your income deposited into this account instead.
You should also advise your superannuation fund of your change in status, and to update your beneficiary details, but you should seek financial advice before doing so
Step 2: Sort out your documentation
Locate all your important financial documents (such as your superannuation statements, payslips, recent bank statements, loan statements, tax returns, and evidence of any lump sum payments you may have received, such as inheritance or compensation payments) and find a safe place to store them, such as with a trusted family member or at a friend’s house.
You may also want to consider redirecting your mail to another address, which you can do for a small fee with Australia Post.
Step 3: Seek support
As this can be a very emotional time, it is important to get as much support as possible. Speak to your family, friends, GP or a counsellor.
Step 4: Seek legal advice
While friends and family may provide you with well-meaning advice, it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible, even if you think you will be able to work things out amicably. Things can change quickly in certain situations, such as one party re-partnering.
You should also look to update your Will and other estate planning documents to reflect your new wishes.
While it may be in your nature to share on social media, to help vent your frustrations, it is important to refrain from doing so. Anything you post could be used in the future by the other party if your matter proceeds to court.