I’m separating, what do I do next?

September 4, 2019

i'm seperating what do i do next

Separating is daunting and many people experience a range of emotions, particularly in the early days of a relationship break up. You might feel numb, powerless and angry. Or you might feel a sense of sadness and loss. Most people also feel anxious about trying to work through all of the practicalities that are involved and are not sure where to start.

At Paterson & Dowding, our experienced lawyers will provide you with comprehensive family law advice and help you to address the practical issues that arise = immediately following separation. It can be helpful to write a list. Your list might include:

The date of separation
Separation occurs when one party to the marriage or de facto relationship announces to the other party that it is over. This can be done face to face or in writing. You need to note the date when one party announces their wish to separate as this date will be known as the “separation date”. The separation date can be important when negotiating financial and/or child related matters.

Change your passwords
If the other party knows your personal account numbers, PIN numbers or other security details, or there is a risk that they have such knowledge, you should either open new bank accounts, or change your account access details. You should also consider changing your passwords, pin numbers and security questions on any social networking account, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Limit any redraw facility on all joint accounts
It is important to ensure all joint accounts are preserved post separation. In doing so, make sure any offset accounts, mortgage withdraw facilities and joint cash accounts require both of your signatures to withdraw funds.

Gather information and documents
Start to gather all relevant financial documents such as tax returns, business or company documents, mortgage documents, bank statements, superannuation statements, employment contracts, Wills and trust deeds and identification documents such as passports, children’s birth certificates and marriage certificates.
These documents will form part of the “Pre-Action Procedures” when commencing negotiations and formalising an agreement. A good idea is to store documents on a USB rather than having loose documents lying around your home.

Consider changing your Will
If you have a current Will under which the other party is a trustee, executor or beneficiary, you might wish to consider amending it if you no longer want the other party to take any property under your Will in the event of your death. You might, for example, now wish to leave your estate to your children or another relative.


Review any life insurance policy or binding nomination under a superannuation fund
If you have any form of life insurance you may wish to change the nominated beneficiary shown in the policy if that person is the other party and you no longer wish him/her to receive your life insurance benefits in the event of your death. You may also want to contact the trustee of your superannuation fund to change your beneficiary nomination to ensure the trustee pays your superannuation benefits to the person or persons you would now like to receive them upon your death.

And finally, seek advice early from an experienced family lawyer!
Newly separated people often think it is okay to seek advice from friends who have been through their own divorce or separation. The problem with this approach is that every family law matter is different and you might be listening to advice that was tailored to fit your friend’s situation, and not yours. In order to know your rights, obligations and entitlements after separation you should seek advice as early as possible from an experienced family lawyer. Family law matters can be emotional and time consuming.

To provide you with tailored legal advice for your unique situation, please call Paterson & Dowding Family Lawyers and Mediators on (08) 9226 3300 and make an appointment with one of our team of experienced family lawyers.

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