It’s the main family law question we receive:
I’ve separated from my partner… what now?
Family law can be quite complex and the experiences that different couples go through are unique.
Whilst it is important to surround yourself with the support of friends and family at this time, the specialised knowledge and experience of our family law team can save you the headache of an untimely or poorly informed decision.
What do I need to do?
- Avoid making large withdrawals of funds or transfers of property, whether jointly or separately owned by you and your partner. It is fine to withdraw amounts that are necessary for normal day to day living expenses.
- Contact your bank and block large withdrawals or redrawing by your partner on joint accounts.
- Keep a diary of the circumstances of your relationship and separation, including dates and details of your living arrangements, key incidents and your employment histories.
- If you have children, make sure you keep an accurate record of the parenting arrangements between you and your partner, both before and after separation.
- Make a list of any finances, real property and other assets that you and partner jointly and separately own, as well as details of any companies, joint ventures, trusts or partnerships in which you or your partner have an interest.
- Change passwords on your bank accounts, phone account(s) email account and internet account.
- Take copies of important documents, including:
- Birth and Marriage certificates;
- Financial documents such as tax returns, pay slips, bank statements, superannuation statements, etc; and
- Registration and insurance certificates for various assets.
- Copy your computer hard drive onto an external hard drive, including personal files and photos and store the external hard drive in a location other than your primary or previously shared place of residence.
- Ensure that you have professional emotional support, whether by a counsellor, pastor or doctor.
- Obtain legal advice, the earlier the better.
Tips for seeing a lawyer for the first time
- Make sure you feel comfortable and cared for when you first speak with your solicitor. The lawyer you choose will be helping you deal with some of the most important matters in your life – your marital relationship, your role as a parent and your ownership of property. You should also ensure that the lawyer and firm have not advised and are not advising your partner in any matter.
- If your partner has access to your mobile phone and/or emails, restrict their access to your communications by changing codes or passwords. It is crucial to keep communications between you and your lawyer confidential.
- At Corney & Lind, we’ll send you a questionnaire to complete prior to your appointment. This questionnaire will give us an outline of your situation. Try and provide as much detail as you can. This will give us a heads up on the issues you might face so we can provide valuable, well-prepared advice to you during your initial meeting. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask any specific questions you have. We can meet with you without a completed questionnaire, although having one will mean we can make the most efficient use of your time with our team.
- Bring copies of financial documents and any court documents to your initial meeting with your lawyer, as well as records you may have of the details mentioned above. You can save on costs if you come prepared with the necessary information.
- It is okay to take notes during your appointment, so feel free to come prepared with a pen and notebook.
- You may find it helpful to bring a friend with you to your appointment. We welcome you bringing someone along to support you and even take notes – although when it comes to taking instructions, it will be you that we listen to – after all, we’re here to protect your best interests.
If you would like more information on first steps following a family separation, contact us
Please Note: This is not legal advice but it may help you understand the law. Read more...