Things you should do when you separate
We often have clients asking us what they should do in regards to protecting their finances and in regards to children’s arrangements (if any) upon separation.
Before you become involved in negotiations or protracted Court proceedings this is a list of things you should do in the event of a separation (not in order of importance):
- If you have joint bank accounts you should instruct the bank to change the signatories so that both parties have to sign to withdraw money from the account. You should also instruct the bank to put a stop on any joint redraw facility. If you are concerned about your former partner/spouse withdrawing/transferring all the money from the account you may consider transferring half of the money in the account to a separate account controlled only by you.
- Change the beneficiary on your superannuation fund if your former partner/spouse is nominated as your beneficiary.
- Make a new Will and Powers of Attorney in case your Will and Powers of Attorney appoint your former partner/spouse to be the Executor of your Will and your Attorney for Medical and/or Financial matters. You would also not want your former partner/spouse to be a beneficiary of your estate.
- Collect all your financial documentation such as tax returns, bank statements, superannuation statements, pay slips, share certificates, marriage certificate etc. from around the house and put them in a safe place where your former partner/spouse is not able to access them.
- Change your laptop password, email passwords, pin numbers, mobile phone password, MyGov passwords etc. Check that your iCloud or GoogleDrive password is also changed in case your former partner/spouse is able to use your old password to remotely access your mobile phone’s cloud storage.
- Set up a new bank account in your sole name and re-direct your salary there so that you have control of your own income.
- Organise to have a place to go to (with a family member or a friend) in case you need to move out of the family home.
- Obtain independent legal advice from your lawyer.
- Obtain a real estate appraisal of the family home and any investment property that you own.
- If you intend to retain the family home, attend upon your bank of choice to assess the maximum amount of money you would be able to borrow so that you know if you will be able to retain the family home, obtain re-finance for the existing mortgage and pay your former partner/spouse.
- Organise to meet with a family dispute resolution practitioner to commence the process of family dispute resolution regarding the arrangements for the children such as which parent the children should live with and how much time the other parent spends with the children.
- Keep a diary of any time spent with the children and time that the children spend with your former partner/spouse and any problems experienced in the arrangement.
- Inform the children’s schools about who is authorised to collect the children and on what days. Organise for the schools to send separate school reports, newsletters etc. to each parent.
If we can be of more assistance please call us at (03) 9555 7233 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to see one of our lawyers.
This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.