Separating from your partner is a highly emotional and stressful time.
It is important to give yourself time to come to terms with this separation. You may feel confused about what to do next. This is when you should think about certain arrangements that need to be made as a result of your separation.
What is “Separation”?
What is the definition of ‘separation’? You can be separated when you are no longer living with your partner any more.
It is also possible to be separated if you and your spouse are living in the same house (under the same roof), but in different rooms after breakup.
What should I consider after separation?
There may be a number of issues that you and your former partner need to consider:
- Will your children live with you? Is there anybody who can help look after them?
- Who’s going to pay the house loan?
- Can you financially support yourself and your children?
- Who’s going to move out of the house?
- Does the house need to be sold?
- Do you tell your family and close friends? Can they provide help and care?
- Who will pay rates and water for the house?
- What happens to the joint bank accounts?
- Should I make a Will, or change my Will?
Can we have a temporary agreement?
In the early stages of your separation, it is a good idea to reach a temporary agreement with your spouse.
You should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible so you know your options, regarding your children (if any) and your joint properties.
Can I apply for a divorce?
If you have already separated for 12 months, you can apply for a divorce.
If there are no children under 18, divorce will be must easier.
While you are waiting during the 12 months, it is a good idea to negotiate a settlement with your spouse, in relation to joint properties and your children.
Children and Property Settlement
You don’t have to wait for divorce in order to settle your joint properties and children. In fact, you probably shouldn’t wait.
Of course, it really depends on your situation. But a lot of retionships deterioate quite quickly, and by the time you’ve waited for 12 months, it is difficult to negotiate anything as the relationship is is not good.
If negotiation is impossible because one party is unwilling to cooporate, you may initiate court proceedings against your ex-partner (this means litigation).
Timing is crucial if you want to initiate these proceedings. Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to obtain advice suitable for your circumstances.
If you have experienced domestic violence, you should consider applying for a domestic protection order, especially if your safety is threatened.