Going through a
separation can be a stressful time, and we're often asked
by people what they need to do to protect themselves once they
decide to separate from their partner. Our family law specialist
Maria Monastiriotis has come up with the following 10 things
you should follow once you separate.
Change all your passwords.
It's important that you change your bank PIN numbers,
internet and telephone banking passcodes and email passwords to
ensure money can't be withdrawn from your account.
You should also change your social media passwords and have
strict privacy settings in place.
Check bank accounts regularly and let your bank know
that you have separated.
Check your redraw facilities and joint bank accounts. If your
partner has withdrawn a very large sum of money from your redraw
facility or joint accounts you need to act quickly. Check your
accounts regularly and if you are concerned that large sums will be
withdrawn without your consent, talk to your bank and see if they
will change the account to require two signatures.
When in doubt, inform your bank in writing that you are
separated and do not consent to any money being withdrawn from your
Put your financial documents and other valuable
documents somewhere safe.
It is not uncommon for these documents to disappear after
separation. Take them to work or leave them with someone you trust.
If you are concerned that your partner may take your children
overseas without your permission, put the children's passports
somewhere safe too.
Put your sentimental or valuable things somewhere
If that trinket box that your grandmother gave you is
sentimental or you can't live without that signed copy of
football memorabilia, put it somewhere safe so it can't be
broken in a "WAR of the Roses" style feud.
Change your will.
Most people don't realise that separation does not affect
Wills, which means your partner is still the beneficiary of your
assets if you pass away. You should also consider whether you want
to change the beneficiaries listed in your insurance policies and
Revoke any power of attorney.
If you have appointed your spouse or partner as your Attorney it
is preferable that you revoke that Power of Attorney as soon as
Keep a diary.
You may need to recount events to a lawyer including
conversations you had with your partner. Maintaining a diary will
help you with that task.
Keep things as civil as possible.
Nobody wants to spend a lifetime fighting with a former partner.
The biggest victims are the children. Keep things as friendly as
possible for the sake of your children.
Consider whether you need to change your postal
If you are concerned that your former partner will read your
mail, consider obtaining a postal box or redirecting your mail to a
friend or family member.
Get legal advice.
You may never need to use a lawyer but make sure that you are
fully informed before making life altering decisions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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If you are doing a Will, or you are the executor of a deceased estate, consider what taxes and duties could be payable.
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