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.
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.