No one enters a marriage anticipating that it will end. However, things don’t always work out the way we’d like and sometimes separation is the best option.
After you’ve told your partner that you want to separate, there are a lot of arrangements that may need to be made, depending on your circumstances.
Here are a few things you may want to consider.
There is no official documentation to sign to show you are separated, it’s more a matter of demonstrating it. This can be done by informing family and friends, separating your finances and living apart. You can read more on how the court defines separation here.
Informing family and friends relates to removing yourself from the social aspect of the relationship. The court wants to see that you are prepared to live publicly as a separated person.
Separating your finances can involve getting separate bank accounts if you previously had a joint account, and taking your or your partner’s name off of utility accounts. You may have set up joint financial arrangements in a variety of areas such as combining your respective superannuation interests in a self-managed superfund. These can be complex to disentangle and you should seek legal advice on how best to approach these issues.
After announcing your decision to separate from your partner, where you decide to live is another critical element to consider.
If you are able, it is often best to live separately from your former partner. It not only more easily proves to the court that you are legitimately separated, it gives you the space to move on emotionally and consider your options moving forward. If you were living together in inner Brisbane, where you both work, it would be appropriate to still live in the same city however you need to show a physical separation.
This is not possible for everyone, however.
If you or your partner cannot afford to find another residence, it is still possible to remain living together while maintaining your separation status. Legally, this situation is called “separated under one roof”. The concept of “separated under one roof” is explored in the above-linked article. Essentially, this living arrangement can be accommodated with sufficient evidence to prove that you and your former partner are, in fact, living separate lives.
What about the kids?
If there are children involved, any decisions made post-separation should have their best interests at heart. Having parents go through a separation can be a very stressful time for them, and safety and stability are their major concerns.
If one of you does end up seeking alternative accommodation, it’s important to communicate with your former partner about who the children will be staying with and how to avoid upsetting their day-to-day life as much as possible.
Above all, remaining civil is a must. If this is proving difficult, finding legal representation from a family lawyer to assist with organising parenting arrangements and other affairs is important.
If you are searching for legal advice, we would love to assist you. Book an obligation-free discovery call today.