If counselling or other strategies have not helped and you decide to separate, it is important to make sure that you emerge in as good a shape as you can.  You need to think about not only the immediate future but also where you see yourself when it’s over.

In the short term, you should consider:

Your immediate living arrangements. Never underestimate the importance of having a safe place to live whether it be staying where you are, moving in with family, renting an apartment or buying a new house.

Arrangements for the children. Immediate issues can involve where they should live and how much contact they should have with each parent.

Child Support  The Child Support website provides a child support estimator which is a good starting point to estimate payments before final arrangements are made.

Property.  In the short term, mortgages or rent payments will need to continue and you should ensure that there is a secure income to meet your daily living expenses. You may need to retain joint control of accounts to maintain your household.  In the longer term, reaching a property settlement can be difficult, and you should obtain advice before agreeing to anything.

Do you have a business?  If a business is involved there may be big changes to the dynamics of the business.  You should get legal and accounting advice to ensure the successful continuation of the business, its daily operation, security for employees, taxation issues and dealing with other partners.  Even if you are self-employed or a sole-trader, you will need to reassess how and from where the business might need to be run.

What next?  Gathering information for your lawyer is important and generally involves finding documents relating to your finances, such as tax returns, bank statements, superannuation records, accounting and business documents and the like.  Remember – each family is different, so what needs to be provided will be different for everyone.

Feel free to ring or contact our senior family lawyer for an initial chat about your situation.  Gordon Ainger can be contacted on 03 8621 1000.