Separation can be an extremely difficult time for most people and separation can naturally bring on a wide array of emotions (understandably). We often find that more times than not, people are confused about what needs to happen next, in amongst everything else that is happening.
In this article, we will cover some initial matters that you should be conscious of immediately after you separate.
Making sure you are safe
This is a big one. If you don’t feel safe you need to take action. Seek help, support, and advice. You can do this by contacting the police, lawyer, and/or a domestic violence hotline.
For social support, we recommend clients start by calling 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), or the Domestic Violence Action Centre (07 3816 3000) if they are based in the Toowoomba and Ipswich areas. These are free government-funded organisations that can provide valuable support and social services, including counselling and safety planning.
Seek therapeutic support for yourself and your children if you think it is necessary
Dealing with the emotions of separation can be hard for adults, but can be difficult for children as well. If you feel at any point you need to talk to someone or your children would benefit from talking with someone and gaining some strategies to cope, then please seek counselling or visit your GP for a mental health assessment.
Be smart with property
There are times where parties want to quickly resolve their property matters straight after settlement and we can understand why. However, in trying to do so, sometimes parties informally agree to a settlement, exchange money, and decide that’s it.
Unfortunately, unless you formalise your property settlement by way of an Order or a Financial Agreement, the financial relationship between yourself and your partner has not been severed and they can approach you later for a property settlement.
If you and your partner wish to sort your property matters, seek legal advice before transferring any money or property to the other so you can understand your rights and entitlement and ensure that any agreement is formalised correctly to protect your future interests.
Financial support for your children
Depending on any discussions with your partner, it might be prudent to contact the Child Support Agency to put an assessment in place to determine who should pay child support and how much that will be.
You can visit the Child Support website to find out information about child support and even estimate who should pay child support and how much through the child support estimator. A link to that estimator is included here.
If in doubt, seek legal advice
There is no harm in seeking legal advice immediately after separation to gather all the information you need to make decisions moving forward with confidence. In fact, some people seek advice prior to separation to better understand the process and what to expect.