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Ask A Family Lawyer: 11 Tips When Separating from Your Spouse

31 · 5 · 23

The end of a marriage or de facto relationship is one of the most difficult periods in a person’s life. It is not unusual to feel anxious and overwhelmed, and it is time when you need support and guidance.

In this blog, our family law team present eleven tips to assist you when separating. Note that there may be other relevant factors to be addressed in your circumstances, and Lucy and our team are on hand to help.

1. Consider the care arrangements for your children. Remember: the way that parents handle a separation can impact their children. Consider this when speaking to or about your ex-spouse/partner in front of your children. Family dispute resolution can help if it is difficult for you to speak to your ex-spouse/partner directly. Tips received from an experienced family lawyer with a conciliatory approach may also be helpful.

2. Contact Services Australia and/or view their website to find out about child support. Also, be sure to notify Centrelink about the change in your relationship status. This may determine whether you are entitled to any payments.

3. If there has been family violence (the definition of which is not limited to physical violence), seek an intervention order. There are several organisations and support services that can assist you in safely leaving an unsafe environment. Please refer to our resources page for more information.

4. Practise self-care. Exercise – endorphins are a great thing! But also remember to rest and be kind to yourself.

5. Get the support that you need. People often engage the services of a psychologist or family therapist to help them get through this time. Friends are great, but sometimes it helps to speak to someone independently.

6. Change your passwords for all bank accounts and financial institutions, email addresses, and social media.

7. Review your Will and your Power of Attorney, and check your superannuation, insurance and other death benefit nominations. Ensure that all of your financial documents and any other important documents have been put away for safekeeping.

8. Review your transactions for all joint accounts and loans you have with any financial or banking institutions to ensure that there have not been any large withdrawals of funds. Notify your bank or financial institution in writing that you and your ex-spouse/partner have separated and that there are to be joint signatures for any withdrawal or redraws of funds. Alternatively, contact the bank/financial institution and notify them in writing that you do not agree to funds being withdrawn from any joint bank accounts and/or redrawn from any joint loans.

9. Consider whether you wish to sever the joint tenancy if you own property with your spouse/partner and it is held in joint names as joint proprietors. Joint proprietors/joint tenants mean that if one owner predeceases the other, the surviving owner will retain the whole of the property – it will not form part of their estate to be distributed in accordance with their Will.

10. Arrange title searches. If there are any properties held in your spouse/partner’s sole name, and you have concerns that he/she may dispose of the property, lodge a caveat.

11. Seek advice from an experienced family lawyer. Although you are not required to see a family lawyer, we strongly recommend that anyone separating receive independent legal advice. You may have a friend or family member who has separated and shared how their matter was resolved – but this won’t necessarily reflect on your own position. Remember: every family is different and there are various factors to consider when separating.

Anderson Family Lawyers is an empathetic, practical and caring legal practice that specialises in helping families redefine their relationships upon separation. Reach out to our friendly team to begin a discussion about your situation; we’re here to help you.


Call (03) 5536 9111 or fill out our contact form.

Anderson Family Lawyers