Separation, in a family law context, is the ending of an intimate partner relationship. Unlike marriage and divorce, there is no legal process to separation. This lack of legal process can leave you unsure about what to do next.
Separation affects everyone differently, and it can be difficult to navigate a way forward.
Once you separate, you and your partner will need to make decisions about practical issues concerning your children and assets/property. Where you and your partner cannot agree on how to move forward, it is a good idea to get legal advice as to your entitlements and obligations.
Some things to consider when separating can include:
For married couples, parties must wait twelve months from the date of separation before they are able to apply for divorce. There is no waiting period before parties can start talking about, negotiating and finalising parenting arrangements and property settlement.
There is no legal process to separation in a de facto relationship.
There is a two year limitation for de facto couples to make an application for property settlement. Although it is still possible to apply after two years, the circumstances where the court will allow this are limited.
Due to these time restrictions and limits, it is important to record the date that you separated. Sometimes parties will disagree as to the actual date of separation, so it is useful to have your own record.
Some things that the court will consider when determining the date of separation can include:
Depending on the wording of your Power of Attorney, your spouse/partner could potentially sell any assets you currently own while being your authorised agent.
You should also review the beneficiaries of any life insurance policies and Binding Death Benefit Nominations of your superannuation.
We can help you update your Will and/or any Power of Attorney after separation.
Friends and family are a great support to lean on during separation in helping parties to come to terms with the change in their lives. Parties should also consider seeking out trained help, whether that be legal, psychological, economic or career assistance as is necessary to provide a smooth transition.
Legal advice will help you understand the law relating to your family law matter and help you settle and formalize your arrangements. Receiving expert legal advice can equip you with the knowledge you need to make empowered and practical decisions about your next steps.