What Should I Do When I Separate From My Spouse?

Knowing what to do when you separate can be tough. Going through a separation can be one of the most confusing and stressful times in your life. Even if things are amicable, it can be very difficult to know where to start with a separation and even more difficult if things are not on good terms. We provide some tips about the things you should be thinking about when separating.

Look After Yourself
Get some help from a separation counsellor (for you and the kids if you need to), talk to a friend and take some time for yourself. Sort out any Centrelink or Child Support payments that you need to. Think about your will, superannuation beneficiaries, all the practical things that you will need to make arrangements for and write yourself a list.

Even if things seem amicable to start with, you need to make sure that you are looking after your interests. Formally note your separation date, communicate it to the other party and keep a diary of everything that happens. Communication in writing is the best, text message or email, so you can refer back to it later.

Try To Reach An Agreement
It is always, always best if you can resolve matters outside of court. Sometimes that is impossible, but you should at least try to save yourself the stress of lengthy and expensive (yes, lawyers can be expensive!) court proceedings. Have a discussion with your partner (and in writing) find out what their position is so you know where you stand and whether there is chance at resolving your parenting or property matters out.

Have a look at our article, How to get a separation agreement, for help.

Inform Yourself
Make sure you understand your rights. Have at least one consultation with a lawyer to discuss what your options are and what you are entitled to. You can definitely finalise your separation without a lawyer but it's a good idea to just have a quick chat to make sure you have covered everything. We offer a free consultation exactly for this reason schedule in a consultation with us here.

Keep in mind, you have one year from divorce or two years from de facto separation to finalise your property settlement. An agreement written on paper and signed (even if it's a statutory declaration or a contact) is not a binding agreement, for parenting or property matters, unless it is formalised with a lawyer or with the court.

And research, research, research
There are many things that you should consider when separating that they can't be contained in one article! There are plenty of resources available online to help you through the separation process, the Legal Aid website for each state in Australia is one that has great resources. You can have a look at our How To Guides which provides some step by step assistance on common matters dealt with through separation. You can also have a look through our FAQs to learn more about the separation process.

It can be incredibly difficult navigating your way through the family law process that is why we offer a free, no obligation consultation with our family lawyers to help you understand what your options and what you can do to finalise your separation.

Contact us for more information or to book a free legal advice session to find out your options.

This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice relevant to your situation.

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