Following separation, there are a number of important things you must attend to. It is necessary for both of you to make some immediate decisions in relation to more practical matters impacting upon your children and joint assets. These include answering questions such as:
- How will we explain our decision to separate to the children?
- How do we best allow the children to maintain the same level of time and contact with each of us immediately following our separation?
- How do we minimise disruption to the children?
- What arrangements can be made for our living and financial arrangements immediately following our separation?
- In what way will we continue to meet our obligations to joint liabilities pending an agreement about the division of our property?
- What will happen to any joint bank, building society or credit union accounts in the short term?
- Can we agree as to how to divide our household effects, furniture and motor vehicles?
From my experience, these conversations are usually very difficult given the heightened emotions. That said, they are fundamentally important questions that if you and your former partner can agree to answer, then the process going forward will be significantly easier.
Quite often separated couples are assisted by a counselor or psychologist to help facilitate their discussion around these issues. Often a local professional is available on a more urgent basis to assist in this regard.
The information contained herein is not intended to be a complete statement of the law on any subject and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice in specific fact situations.