Preparing for separation

Expecting separation?

Tips to protect yourself

Planning for separation and divorce can assist you in resolving legal and financial issues more quickly, favourably, and cost effectively.

Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Consider re-directing your mail to a friend or relative’s address, or get a post office box for incoming mail including sender and return addresses.
  2. Open a new email address. This will ensure you have privacy of communication.
  3. Check monthly statements for all accounts, loans, credit cards etc to which you are a party. Look for increased or unusual withdrawals or expenditure. Consider freezing loan facilities – if allowed by the bank. Similarly, if your spouse has generally been responsible for tax matters, check that your returns have been lodged and any tax liability paid.
  4. If you are a silent partner in the business of your spouse, take a greater interest. Obtain all relevant information including bank statements, corporate tax returns to financial statements, loan applications etc.
  5. Refuse to enter into further company or joint loans with your spouse. Think carefully before obtaining further joint assets. Do not give personal guarantees or give further security by way of mortgages over your property.
  6. Check the contents of any safe deposit box and itemise furniture and valuables kept at the home. Consider taking photographs or videos. Consider storing portable items of value away from the home.
  7. Check registration, insurance, and condition of your motor vehicle.
  8. If you receive gifts, inheritances or other lump sum payments, keep separately and do not put into joint funds or joint assets.
  9. Consider resigning as a director of private companies or transfer your shares. Generally, it is best to remain as director and shareholder until finalisation of property settlement. It allows you greater rights to information and it is a valuable bargaining chip. On the other hand, directors of companies can be liable for companies – especially if the company is trading whilst insolvent.
  10. Review your will and beneficiaries nominated by you for any life insurance or superannuation benefits.
  11. Collate or copy significant documents. See our separate page listing Important Sources of Family Law Information.
  12. Do not move out of the family home without properly considering advice from your family law solicitor in respect of the advantages and disadvantages.
  13. Look after your health. Avoid overuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs to deal with stress. Get assistance from your doctor or a counsellor if you are having difficulty coping emotionally. Remember however that there is no doctor/patient privilege. In the event of court proceedings (especially about children) spouses may subpoena the records of each other’s doctors, counsellors etc.

Careful planning for separation and settlement negotiations may help to resolve legal and financial issues more quickly, favouring cost effectively.

Here are some tips to help you plan for the best result.