If you have resolved that 2021 is the year to end your relationship and make a fresh start, there are some ducks you could consider getting in a row before you do.
Here are 5 tips that may make separation easier for you and your children:
- Consider having a chat with a counsellor before you separate. If you do, you can use the time to get some strategies around how to raise separation with your partner and, if you have children, how to later have a conversation with them about the separation. It can be very helpful to have a counsellor you have already met and feel comfortable with to lean on after separation for advice and support when times get tough.
- Think through what separation might mean for your personal finances. Whilst it is good to aim for the separation to be as amicable as possible, it is important to plan for the possibility that it won’t be. Do you have some savings to fall back on if your partner stopped contributing financially to joint debts or if you needed to engage a lawyer to be able to see your children? Consider setting aside some funds before separation, if you can, just in case.
- Carefully consider what living arrangements you think might be best for your children before you separate. Separating may mean you or your partner leave the house immediately. Putting some thought into what your alternate accommodation might look like and what you can afford will take some of the anxiety out of the decision making and ensure you have a place to go, if need be. Where possible, it can be beneficial to attempt to work through with your partner, prior to either of you leaving the family home, at least the short term living arrangements for the children once one of you move. This can lessen the uncertainty for both you and the children.
- If you are unsure about the family finances or what your partner earns, there is no harm in taking copies of documents, like superannuation statements, pay slips, bank statements, tax returns and other financial documents prior to separating. This will help you to have a better picture of your family’s financial position. It can sometimes be difficult to extricate that information from your partner after you have separated. The better informed you are before your leave, the better off you will be when trying to put in place some short term and longer term arrangements in relation to your financial separation and/or support.
- You may also like to have a chat with a financial planner or your accountant to discuss how to best manage your income in the short term. If you have a business, your accountant may be able to assist in clarifying how it has been set up (for example is there a company or a trust involved? Are you a director or shareholder?) and to give you an indication of what its value might be before you separate.
Separation can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. If you are able to make some preparations beforehand you will be better placed to manage the ebbs and flows of that journey.