Separation and divorce is a very difficult time even if the parties are striving to reach an amicable solution.  There are many things to consider beyond the division of property. Getting legal advice is important to have someone on your side who is not driven with the emotion of the breakup.  And knows all the boxes to check.

It is important to consider these initial steps and make a plan.  The plan doesn’t need to be exact, just try to do what you can.

1 You are not bound to the other side’s wishes.

Don’t let your self be overcome with rage.  Just say that you will discuss the matter further when you have had time to think.

Keep to your own time-frame, not the other side’s.

Consider matters significant issues such as pressing debts or concerns about children, if these are OK, there is no need to rush despite what the other side wants.

The Family Law Act makes the child’s best interest of paramount concern.

2 Discuss practical matters; the children’s living arrangements, where will you live, the pets and how the bills will be paid.

If you have any concerns, it is best not to commit to anything without legal advice.

You will need money for immediate concerns, but withdraw money from accounts to which you have legal access, and provide funds for yourself.

3 Take professional advice.

Lawyers can generally advise what a reasonable outcome would be in family law terms, but remember, there is no absolute certainty.

Consult your doctor and get a recommendation for a counsellor.

Talk to an accountant about your affairs.

Talk to Relationship Australia.  If there is domestic violence, talk to a women’s refuge or to police.

Talk to your family and friends for support but be careful about revealing all the secrets of your marriage.

4 Keep copies of all financial records for both parties.  Put in safe keeping objects that are most precious to you.

Be reasonable and remember it is expensive hire lawyers to write letters about retrieving possession.

5 Things will get better. You not defined by the other person’s decision. Separation is the start of a long, sad and arduous process, but people recover over time.