You’ve Decided To Separate, Now What?

You’ve Decided To Separate, Now What? Resolve Conflict Family LawyersSeparating and divorce is an emotional time for most people, on top of that this process is often brand new territory for both parties to navigate, which can be extremely daunting and stressful.

The best way to reduce uncertainty and stress is to get as much information as you can on the process of separation and divorce. Here we have collated a pre-separation check list, encompassing all the thing you need to consider once you’ve decided to separate from your partner.

Set The Date

The date of separation is the first practical step, whether you are married or separating a de facto relationship. Separation occurs the day either or both parties express their intention to end the relationship. From that point onwards one or both parties move out of the home, or otherwise start living separate lives under the same roof (separate beds, separate domestic responsibilities, separate social lives – an identifiable change in the relationship you once were in).

Related Article: We’ve separated – does one of us need to move out?

Get Organised

Start to get organised and gather documentation on all your own financial circumstances and any joint finances you have with your former partner.

When it comes to property settlement both parties are required to provide “full and frank financial disclosure”. This means all information and documents that you control or hold that provide evidence of your financial position and net worth.

The types of documents required included but are not limited to:

  • Pay slip/income statements
  • Bank account statements
  • Taxation returns
  • Superannuation statements
  • Valuations and appraisals of assets; business holdings, investment holdings, real property, vehicles and watercrafts
  • Details of any financial resources including child support, trusts or other payments
  • Winnings, inheritances, compensation, payouts or claims
  • Details or interests in any company and/or trust and supporting documentation;
  • Details of assets disposed of leading up to separation and since separation
  • Other assets in your control or possession
  • Debts and liabilities.

Engage With A Family Lawyer

Early advice from an experienced family lawyer will likely save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Meeting with a family lawyer early in the separation journey will help you understand the process of divorce, property settlement and child arrangements as well as giving you an understanding of different option like mediation/negotiating that you can choose from to resolve your family law matters.

Related Article: 5 Tips To Choosing The Best Family And Divorce Lawyer

Take The High Road

It’s been said that divorce can either make you a better person or a bitter person. Obviously divorce can be extremely emotive, try not to become personal or critical of your spouse and say or write something you may later regret. Remember that divorce is a process not a fight.

Close Joint Accounts

Depending on you circumstances there will most likely be joint accounts that you need to keep open for instance home loan or loan servicing account, however be sure to close any joint accounts that are no longer needed once separated. If your former partner is using a joint credit card and runs up a large debit you could be liable for it.

Update Your Will

When life changes so must your Will. The separation period is a critical time to update your Will, as marriage separation does not have an effect on your Will. This means that should you fail to update your Will and you die whilst separated, before your divorce is finalised, your spouse may inherit any part of your estate you had previously intended to leave to them. Likewise, if your Will names your spouse as your executor, they will be entitled to take up that role regardless if you wanted them to or not.

Related Article: Marriage, Divorce and Wills: What You Need To Know

Think Big Picture

It’s important to stay focused on the big picture and what your priorities are, so be sure to pick your battles. If you get caught up disagreeing on the smaller particulars you may derail your big picture outcomes.

Seek Emotional Support

Now is the time to seek out emotional and professional support. Divorce can be a tiresome activity, friends and family are an obvious choice for emotional support, however if you need an unbiased opinion, it may be a good idea to seek out a professional.

Note: This is general information advice only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters, please contact us on 03 9620 0088 or email

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