Partner tips and traps
- Be aware of your partner’s intentions and emotions.
- Seek advice to deal with your partner’s needs and emotional hot spots.
- Seek legal advice and counselling before leaving the matrimonial home.
- Keep lines of communication between yourself and your ex-partner or ex-spouse open, amicable and civil whenever possible.
- Remain calm during discussions relating to property and children. You need to protect against your ex-partner or ex-spouse bringing a domestic violence order against you.
- Keep a diary noting all events, phone calls, and discussions regarding the children, your finances and negotiations and decisions that are made as a result.
- Verbal agreements about property, contact with children or other issues cannot be enforced if either party reneges. Agreements may only be if Consent Orders or Orders are issued by the court, or if you both enter into a binding financial agreement.
Children tips and traps
- If separation occurs, and it is your wish that the children remain with you, do not leave the matrimonial home. If you do leave, try to make arrangements for the children to be with you.
- If you do leave the matrimonial home without the children, arrange for as much contact with the children as soon as possible.
- Until the court issues Orders, you have the same parenting rights as your ex-partner or ex-spouse. It may be in the children’s best interest for them to reside with you even though they may be currently with your ex-partner or ex-spouse. It is imperative that you seek legal advice immediately.
- It is extremely important to take steps immediately to have the children returned to you if your partner takes them from the home without your knowledge or consent. It is imperative that you seek legal advice (or Legal Aid) about this as a matter of urgency.
- Never use contact arrangements to conduct activities not focused on your children. This includes passing documentation, contentious discussions and financial transactions.
Financial tips and traps
- Take personal belongings, documents and other items you may need when you leave.
- Structure your financial resources to minimise the impact of separation.
- Don’t give your spouse or partner a cash payment for child support without obtaining a receipt. You may subsequently need to produce a valid record of payments you have made for child support.
- Close all joint bank accounts as soon as possible and set up one of your own.
- Commence negotiations to try to resolve financial issues before goodwill dries up.