When separating from your partner the to do list can be overwhelming, let alone the emotional stress of restructuring your life.
Below we have provided a practical checklist of things that often need to be addressed as part of the separation, some of them may seem straight forward but during the stressful time it can assist to have something basic to turn to as a checklist.
To assist in this process, we suggest purchasing a diary or notebook to document these things, alternatively, you can use your notes apps on your phone.
- Have you effectively communicated with your partner that the relationship is over?
- Have you noted down the separation date? (this date is relevant for your property settlement and for government agencies, such as Centrelink and Child Support)
- Has there been a discussion about who will remain in the home regardless of whether you’re renting or you own the home? Remember to make a note of this discussion particularly if consideration has been given to the following:
- Financial capacities of each party.
- Who is liable for payments to the home?
We often share passwords with our partners. For privacy and security reasons, we suggest you update your passwords to the following:
- Social media accounts.
- Online banking.
- Pin numbers.
- PayPal or afterpay.
If you move from the matrimonial home, attend the post office and redirect your mail. Attend upon a bank and open a bank account in your sole name, redirect your pay to this account to assist in providing you independence.
If there are any joint bank accounts, you might wish to have discussions with your partner about the funds that remain in the account.
- Make written note of all discussions. If there is no agreement as to how the funds should be distributed, suggest placing all the funds into your lawyers trust account pending any financial distribution.
- If there are joint credit cards, loyalty or store cards such as Fly Buys and Everyday Rewards, you may wish to discuss how these will be used and/or paid out.
It is important to collate your paperwork. With any property settlement, both parties have a ‘Duty of Disclosure’.
- Begin gathering a file or folder of all bank statements, tax returns, registration documents or the like. Keeping these documents together and organised will reduce confusion as the matter progresses.
- Review your private health insurance and either set up a new account or discuss who will pay for the policy and who will remain on the existing policy. Make written notes of the discussions, if there is no agreement speak to your lawyer to notify the health insurer pending an agreement.
- Review your utilities and adjust any water, rates, electricity, gas and telephone and internet accounts if you are remaining in the property. Keep a copy of any documents relating to this so you are aware of the status of the accounts at separation.
- Review any insurance policies that you have over any assets of the relationship, such as motor vehicle insurance and home insurance. Keep a copy of any documents relating to this so you are aware of the status of the policy at separation.
- Finally, if you are using the same accountant, consider who will remain with that accountant (our office can help with providing you with details of a trusted accountant).
Children of the relationship.
If there are children of the relationship, arrangements will need to be made for their financial support and you may need to contact Centrelink and the Child Support Agency.
All of our family lawyers are skilled in divorce, parenting and prenuptial agreements and offer their services to a number of locations across Sydney including Hawkesbury and Penrith. Contact us today and find out how we can assist you.
Written by Lauren Hitchen.