If you are considering ending your relationship or marriage, ask yourself:
1 Are you both able to continue living in the family home – as a separated couple – while the finances are sorted out or has this become unbearable?
2 What emotional state are each of you in? The action plan you choose will be dependent on where each of you are at in your emotional journey.
3 What is the level of trust and transparency between you and your partner, particularly with relation to finances and reliability for agreed actions in relation to the children?
4 What is the level of communication between your partner and yourself – do you think you can both manage separating on your own or do you need some support to do so?
5 If you are preparing to leave the marriage or relationship, but wish to get your affairs in order before communicating this decision to your partner, you may choose to do the following:
- Create an email account separate from any family email accounts.
- Open a bank account in your name only.
- Get a PO Box or establish a mailing address different from your current address.
- Get copies of bank accounts, credit card statements, loan statements, superannuation statements, tax returns.
- Think through how best to tell your children, so that when you advise your partner that the relationship is over you can discuss how you would like to tell the children and outline the goal of both working together in the best interest of the children.
- Determine if you have a redraw facility on your home mortgage (or line of credit on any other loans) and if so, make contact with your bank to understand if either of you can redraw funds, or if written consent from both of you is required/already in place.
- Get assistance to understand your financial position and what a financial separation could look like for each of you.
- Approach a banker or mortgage broker to understand how much a bank would be prepared to lend you if you were applying for a loan as an individual.
- Understand how the Child Support System works and how this is different from a Property/Financial Settlement.
- Understand the amount of child support you would be entitled to receive or be required to pay and also any other benefits you may be entitled to (eg, Centrelink, Veteran’s Affairs).