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Family LawNewsWhat to do when you separate? 11 Step Guide

11 January 2022

Going through a separation can often be one of the most stressful, confusing and emotionally debilitating times in your life. On top of this, if you have been together for a while, there can be a lot to divide between each other – furniture, housing and especially money.

Often during the emotional turmoil of a breakup, it is not always easy to think rationally. Here are 11 short steps to follow once you have separated to ensure you have you bases covered, and which we hope will make the process a whole lot easier:

    1. Change your passwords: It is important that you ensure you change your bank PIN numbers, social media passwords and email passwords to ensure your ex-partner does not have access to this information and cannot use this information to your detriment.
    2. Change your postal address: Consider re-directing mail to a friend or family member if you are concerned that your former partner will read your mail.
    3. Take a copy of your marriage certificate: This is useful in the future if you are intending to proceed with a Divorce Application. Many people misplace their marriage certificate and are required to order a new one upon filing for divorce.
    4. Place your sentimental items somewhere safe: Items such as the jewellery that your grandma gave you or a signed copy of AFL memorabilia should be placed somewhere safe so it cannot be lost or broken. Consider storing these items at a family member or friend’s home.
    5. Store your Financial Documents and other valuable documents somewhere safe: Financial documents are documents relating to the assets, liabilities and financial resources in your name. For example, bank statements, taxation returns and credit card statements. It is important that you retain this information.
    6. Contact your Bank or Financial Institution: Should you have joint accounts or credit cards, you should advise your bank or your separation.
    7. Review your Will and Power of Attorney: Consider revoking these documents and making new documents.
    8. Review other important Policies such as Superannuation: As with your Will, you may want to update your superannuation, life insurance or other death benefits after separation.
    9. Keep a Diary: Write down particular dates and events. Should you be required to go to court later, the more documentation you gather now, the easier it will be in the future.
    10. Look after yourself: It is important to have support from those who care about you. It is critical to your mental health during this time to seek out help and support from professionals, friends and family.
    11. Obtain Legal Advice: We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice from a lawyer well versed in family law prior or upon separation. Unfortunately, most people wait months and sometimes years following separation to see a family lawyer. By proactively engaging an experience family lawyer, you will receive advice and tools to assist you navigate your separation from the get-go.

Want more help on your action plan? Please do not hesitate to get in touch with SLF Lawyers on 03 9600 2450.

Article written by Jane Carmel of our Melbourne office.