By taking cautionary and preventative steps now, you may save yourself from unnecessary and expensive complications later. If you are contemplating separation, you should consider some of these useful steps.

  • Counselling: if you are suffering from emotional distress you should seek the professional advice of a counsellor. If you are the victim of domestic violence, professional assistance and advice should be sought.
  • Joint bank accounts: if you have a joint savings account with your spouse it is wise to instruct the bank to restrict access so that mutual consent is required between you and your spouse before any transaction can by entered into. You should also cancel any joint credit cards.
  • Assets: It is a good idea to create a list that specifies all of your assets held with your spouse jointly or in your individual names.
  • Debts: Similarly, any personal or joint debts or mortgages should be listed together with the name of the party to whom the debt is owed.
  • Centrelink: If you are unemployed and / or if you relied on your spouse’s income, you should consider applying for Centrelink payments.
  • Child Support: If you have children, this is a good time to contact the Child Support Agency about the Child Support that your spouse will pay or the Child Support that you will be liable to pay to your spouse for the children.
  • Division of furniture: It is advisable to draw up a list with the items of furniture with an approximate current market value to assist with negotiating a division of the furniture.
  • Redirection of mail: In general, if you are now living in a different address you should consider redirecting your mail and notifying the relevant authorities of the change of address.
  • Disposal of assets: as a spouse you should not attempt to dispose of joint assets. If you are concerned about your partner disposing of or destroying assets or relevant documents you may be able to seek an injunction from the Family Court. However, you should obtain legal advice before taking such a step.
  • Changing you will: You may need to update your existing will, particularly if your spouse is a beneficiary or trustee/executor.

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