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Pre-Separation Checklist

How is Mediation Different from Collaborative Law?

Important Things to Consider Before Separation

Separation, in the worst-case scenario, involves a person leaving the marital or de facto home in haste and not returning. Conversely, the best-case scenario is when someone leaves after exploring all the options, both in regard to reconciling the relationship and of course, in the event that it’s unlikely, separating with things in place.

In this article, we identify a number of things that you should be considering prior to separation.

The first stage is to determine whether your relationship has irreversibly broken down or whether the issues may be resolved. Remember that once you’ve started the separation process, there’s often no going back.

If you’re on the fence regarding separation and divorce, we strongly advise you to seek marriage, family, or individual counselling.

A counsellor can assist you in determining whether divorce or separation is the best solution to your problems or whether they can be resolved through counselling. Counselling can assist couples in regaining intimacy, improving communication, resolving trust issues, and implementing conflict-resolution tactics. If counselling fails to resolve the concerns, a therapist can help ensure that the separation is done amicably and compassionately by offering emotional and practical support for the transition into separate lives. Please contact our family law department if you would want a recommendation to a counsellor who is most suited to your individual or family’s requirements.

Once you’ve made the decision to divorce your partner, there are a few things to bear in mind. Beginning to protect yourself and your interests (and the interests of your children) can only help you in the future.

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The following points should be kept in mind:

Keep a Diary

  • Keep a diary as proof of your separation date. This is important for your divorce application;
  • Ensuring that you do not exceed the time limit for bringing de facto relationship procedures; and
  • Assists in determining post-separation contributions.

Mailing Address

Set up a private PO Box or contact your local post office to have all of your mail routed to your workplace. You want to make sure that you have control over all crucial mail and that you don’t miss important payments or letters because you didn’t receive it.

The New Location

Consider your living alternatives and whether you intend to stay on in the property (and if you can afford to do so). If there are children involved, you should think about who they will live with, keeping in mind that it is normally in the best interests of the children to keep them in the matrimonial home.

Be Safe

Consider how your ex-partner will respond if you tell them you’re separating from them, and whether domestic violence is a possibility (particularly if there are any children involved).

Your Finances

Start organising your finances. For instance:

  • Create a separate bank account and re-direct your earnings or government pensions there;
  • Know about the bills that must be paid on a regular basis.
  • Check who owns all of the family’s accounts, including internet, home phone, mobile, energy, Netflix, and so on. Change the account holder if necessary to the individual who plans to keep using the account after the separation;
  • To prevent your previous partner from accessing your phone records, make sure your phone is registered in your name. Phone accounts might be tough to switch over to your sole name without the account holder’s permission, so do it when you’re on good terms.
  • Gather financial documents such as tax returns, important invoices, trust deeds, Business Activity Statements, and so on (this will establish a history of contributions and other transactions paid on behalf of or by either party);
  • If you and your former partner share an accountant or financial adviser, inform them of your plans to separate and keep all personal information separate in the future.

Gather Sentimental Things

If you’re leaving the matrimonial home, remember sentimental items. At times, once a person leaves the house it can be difficult to gain entry again to access these items.

Get Legal Advice Early

Getting legal advice early is crucial. It can be the case that during this emotionally difficult time, people make decisions that can compromise their legal position. By speaking to a family lawyer at Mediations Australia, we can advise you of the road ahead and strongly encourage an early resolution of any disputes that may occur with regard to property or parenting matters.

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