Separation occurs when you and your partner stop living together as partners or spouses. This generally happens where the relationship ends with no reasonable likelihood of resuming. Once a party decides to separate, the move out or you can be separated, but under one roof.

Separation is a major event in anyone’s life. This life change can be a challenging and difficult time for the couple and their family. Separation may bring about sadness, grief, anger, and denial. It is important to remember that everyone will process and deal with separation differently.

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What should you do once you Separate?

We recommend seeking legal advice when you separate so you can understand your rights and obligations in these difficult times. There are a number of steps involved in separation, such as whether you need a divorce, do you have property to be divided and if there are children, do arrangements need to be made for their ongoing care.

You should attempt to reach some agreements with your spouse/ex-partner about living arrangements for yourselves and for children (if applicable), how you will support yourselves, how rent or mortgages will be paid, and what will happen to bank accounts and property held jointly.

Hiring Separation Lawyer in Melbourne

We understand that sometimes it will not be possible to reach an agreement with your spouse/ex-partner, and we are here to help. Our lawyer specialized in separation, can assist you in evaluating your circumstances and recommending a fair and just agreement between the parties. We can facilitate communication between you both to negotiate an amicable arrangement.


Timeframes for Married couples and De-Facto relationships.

If you are married and you have now separated from your spouse, there is no time limit to make an application for divorce.

If you are in a de facto relationship and you have separated with your partner, you must apply to the court for a property/financial settlement within 2 years of the breakdown of your relationship. An application made after two years requires leave of the court, and there is no guarantee this will be granted.

Consider your living situation

It is best to avoid being in an unhappy living situation. If it is within your affordability, you could consider moving out. Where there are children involved, it is important to consider their needs. For instance, is the home close to their school and extra-curricular activities.

It may very well benefit the party who intends to keep the house as part of the property settlement to remain living there. You can ask for help from our expert property settlement lawyers to assist you with this matter.

Consider Child Custody

This can be as much of a stressful time for your children as it is for you. It is important to consider what is in the best interest of your child. It is worth informing your children’s school about the separation so that people in your children’s environment can offer them support. This would also be relevant if there are court orders in place.

If possible, try and work out temporary arrangements regarding where your children will spend their time, with which parent, and for how long. You could note this down in a parenting plan. It needs to be written, signed and dated. Note though, a parenting plan is not legally binding.

Alternatively, one of our experienced Family Lawyers in Boronia can assist you to draw up formal consent orders for child custody arrangements. This would be submitted to the courts and would be legally binding.

Keep your possessions and valuables with you

Make sure you have all your important documents with you such as passports, birth certificates, tax returns, financial documents and all other relevant documents.

Access to financial records is especially important, as this will be relevant in the process for property division.

Get your personal administration in order

There is always a never-ending list of life administration to attend to. As your circumstances have changed, it is important to update things such as your Medicare card, name on utility bills, insurance policies and bank account details.

In terms of joint bank accounts, if you are concern that large sums will be withdrawn without your consent, talk to your bank to see if they can change the account to require two signatures, or alternatively freeze the account until both parties agree otherwise.

It is also important to update your will. If you need assistance with that, we have experienced Family Lawyers in Boronia who can help you with that.

Document things

Keep a diary of important conversations, events, agreed arrangements, important dates and any communication between each other.

Seek assistance and support

Don’t forget to seek emotional assistance and support from counsellors, family members, friends or community groups.

It is important to lean on those closest to you to help deal with your feelings about your separation. It is also important to seek professional assistance through this process. Some key services include:

  • Family Relationship Centres
  • Reconciliation counselling
  • Separation counselling or mediation
  • Legal Advice from a Family Lawyer

At The Family Lawyer, we appreciate separation is a deeply difficult and confronting time. We take the time to listen and understand your circumstances, and provide you with advice regarding your family law issues.

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We will be in touch as soon as possible to discuss your matter.

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Ask a Lawyer

Frequently Asked Questions

You should take steps to discuss your separation with your partner or spouse to make clear that the relationship has ended and there is no likelihood of recommencing the relationship. A separation does not mean that property, parenting, or maintenance matters are dealt with; this is a separate process. It is highly advantageous to seek legal advice regarding these matters to ensure you understand your rights and obligations.

Yes, separation is not the same as a divorce. Divorce is ending the agreement between two parties which requires an application to the court for an order of divorce. You must be separated for 12 months prior to applying for a divorce.

If you reconcile with your spouse for less than 3 months it will not affect your ability to file for divorce. However, the period of reconciliation must be added to the period of separation so that it adds up to at least 12 months.

You can live under the one roof and be separated. However, when it comes time to obtain a divorce or finalise property, children, or maintenance matters, you may be required to provide more evidence in an affidavit showing you lived separate lives. The affidavit must include certain information to prove this to the court. We recommend seeking the assistance of a lawyer to ensure the affidavit is prepared in the appropriate form, sworn, and filed.

Yes absolutely. If you and your partner or spouse can come to an agreement about separating and other relevant matters, you do not need a lawyer. It is also okay to see a lawyer for initial advice about separating from your partner to ensure you know your rights and obligations. Sometimes this is not possible, and lawyers will be involved to facilitate communication between the parties and try to reach a fair agreement.

What our clients say…

During this stressful time, I found Kristdel at The Family Lawyer to be particularly helpful. She demonstrated great empathy and responsiveness. She clearly outlined the options available to me, the pros and cons of each together with her final recommendation. As a result, I was confident that I was well informed and that she understood what was important to me. The issue was also resolved promptly and with a highly satisfactory outcome.


Excellent service, they managed to show compassion for my stupidity, we laughed together


Kristdel and the team have just helped me through a very difficult time. They were very professional, experienced and caring. I highly recommend The Family Lawyer.


Extremely happy with the service I got, Christian was very professional and responsive he made sure everything was ready and nothing was left to chance. I got an outcome beyond what I expected!They were very accomodating with their fees.


Thank you so much Kristdel! I was stressing about my separation and what it would involve and Kristdel could see I was very anxious so she let her black lab come into our consultation! It was so calming, I can’t thank you enough for being so empathetic.


I had a really good experience the last few times I have visited their office. Great group of people to have on your side.


Kristdel is an amazing lawyer. That’s the vibe I got, from the first initial call. Very happy with the service, very professional and prompt, no jargon, 100% committed to my needs. Quick to respond and very thoughtful.

The Local Gardener

Kristdel helped with some much needed clarity in regards to financial obligations of a separation. Highly recommended


I highly recommend Kristdel for any family related matters. She is super responsive and helpful professional in all your family related requirements. I know her and the Family Lawyer firm for a long period now. And they are good partners to work with. Highly recommend.


Really happy with their service. Thank you.


Thank you Kristdel for doing both our Wills, very professional, helpful, friendly and efficient. Highly recommended.


The team at the Family Lawyer were amazing. Kristdel was so calming and really helped me out during a hard and emotional time. She was upfront about how much everything was going to cost and kept things on track so it didn’t drag on. I don’t know where I would be without her. Thank you!


Friendly, professional and understanding staff. I was given great advice on what would be best to do in my situation and they handled it quickly, considered my wants/needs and made sure they were met and the whole process was stress-free. Couldn’t be more thankful for the great service.



We’re here to help answer your questions. We take great pride in using our expertise for you and look forward to speaking with you.

During your initial free consultation we will:

  • Discuss your circumstances
  • Advise you on your options
  • Answer your questions
  • Advise you of the costs


03 8657 3751

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