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Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Thinking of separating is a significant decision that can have profound emotional, financial, and legal implications. If you're contemplating separation from your partner or spouse, it's essential to carefully consider various factors and take steps to plan for the process. Here are some key things to consider:

  1. Emotional and Personal Considerations:

    • Emotional well-being: Understand that separation can be emotionally challenging for both you and your partner. Consider seeking emotional support from friends, your trusted general practitioner (GP) or a therapist.

    • Children: If you have children, think about their well-being and how the separation will affect them. Developing a co-parenting plan is crucial.

    • Communication: Open and respectful communication with your partner can help in reaching agreements and reducing conflict during the separation process.

2. Legal Considerations:

  • Consult a solicitor: It's advisable to consult with a family lawyer who specialises in divorce and separation to understand your legal rights, obligations, and options.

  • Property and assets: Make a list of your shared assets and debts (‘liabilities’). Be prepared to discuss how they might be divided. In most cases, this will require a formal property settlement.

  • Child arrangements and support: If you have children, consider parenting arrangements, spend time arrangements, after-school and weekend schedules, and child support. Courts prioritise 'the best interests of the child’.

  • Legal process: Understand the legal process for divorce or separation in Australia. This may include filing for divorce, property and parenting agreements, consent orders, mediation and (the last resort) court proceedings.

3. Financial Considerations:

  • Budgeting: Create a post-separation budget to understand your financial needs and obligations.

  • Financial accounts: Consider how you'll divide joint bank accounts and assets (these may need to be agreed in a formal property settlement).

  • Debts: Address shared debts and decide how they will be handled after separation (these may need to be agreed in a formal property settlement).

  • Property: Determine whether you'll sell or transfer jointly owned property, such as a house or car (these things will need to be agreed in a formal property settlement).

4. Practical Considerations:

  • Living arrangements: Plan where you and your partner will live during the separation process. Seek advice from a solicitor about separation under one roof.

  • Documentation: Keep copies of important documents like financial records, titles, and insurance policies.

  • Support network: Lean on friends and family for emotional support and assistance when needed. Practice self care!

5. Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution:

  • Consider mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods to work through issues with your partner in a more amicable and cost-effective way. Our family law solicitors can guide you through the mediation process and attend mediation with you.

6. Future Planning:

  • Update your will, beneficiaries on insurance policies, and other legal documents to reflect your new circumstances. Here at Stacey McAllan Legal, we have estate planning and probate lawyers on hand to assist you!

  • Think about your long-term goals and how the separation will impact your future.

  • It is OK to take this process one day at a time.

7. Timeline:

  • Understand that the process of separation and divorce can take time. Be patient and prepared for potential delays.

Remember that every separation is unique, and the specific considerations may vary based on your individual circumstances. Seeking professional advice and support from lawyers, counsellors, and financial advisors can help you navigate this challenging period with greater clarity and confidence.

Phone our family law solicitors at Stacey McAllan Legal – (02) 6742 2122.

Gunnedah & Newcastle in office, and visits are available in Muswellbrook, Singleton, Scone, Murrurundi, and Tamworth.

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