If you are considering separating from your partner, whether you are married or in a de facto relationship, there are many things to think about and it can all be overwhelming. However, there are a number of things you should be sure to do in order to protect yourself and your children.
1. Seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Many people think that seeing a lawyer will instantly mean ending up in a long, drawn out, adversarial battle and a court hearing, but that is not the case at all.
At Nicholes Family Lawyers, we spend a considerable proportion of our time either advising people so that they are fully informed in entering into their own negotiations, or facilitating settlements by negotiating on our clients’ behalf.
Specialist family law advice can really help. People often say at the end of a first conference with their lawyer that they feel a lot calmer, they feel reassured, and their anxiety has reduced.
Separation is stressful and confusing enough as it is, and the law can be difficult to navigate without proper guidance. Legal advice can put the legal issues into perspective and help people come up with a workable plan.
Even if you haven’t separated yet, it can help to have a discussion with a lawyer so you know your entitlements and discuss some strategies.
The lawyers are Nicholes Family Lawyers will provide you with advice tailored to your unique situation and will assist you with empathy and understanding.
2. Get on top of your finances
Prior to separating, gather as much information about your family finances as you can. Make copies of important documents and computer files.
By law, separating couples are obliged to provide full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances to each other. However, it is easier if you are aware of your assets and liabilities prior to separation. This information will assist your lawyer to provide you with accurate advice so try to bring as much of this information as you can when you first see a lawyer.
3. Protect yourself
The lawyers at Nicholes Family Lawyers can provide you with practical advice to ensure that you are financially protected and that your former partner cannot diminish your assets.
4. Protect your children.
The lawyers at Nicholes Family Lawyers are experienced in all aspects of family law including parenting issues and can provide you with advice on the best way to negotiate parenting arrangements.
If you have children, avoid discussing your separation, negotiations or litigation with, or in front of, them. No matter how old your children are they will be affected by the separation and the impact on them will be lessened if they are protected from discussions about the separation and any negative views you hold about their other parent.
Do not use the children to pass on messages to the other parent. Do not use the children as “bargaining chips” when negotiating financial issues. Always make decisions that are in the best interests of the children and work on developing a good parenting relationship with your former partner. If you have children together, you will have to work with each other at least until the children turn 18 and probably beyond.
Children should be encouraged to spend time and have a good relationship with each of their parents, without feeling like they “letting down” the other. However, in circumstances where you have concerns for their safety, you should act protectively. You should not expose your children to risk. The lawyers at Nicholes Family Lawyers have sadly been involved in many matters which have involved family violence and can provide sensitive and practical advice to you which is appropriate for your situation. If litigation is required, the lawyers at Nicholes Family Lawyers are experienced litigators and provide you with strong representation.
5. Get counselling
Separating is difficult and can be traumatic. You may be holding it together (perhaps for the sake of the children) but many people find it much easier to process the emotional aspects of separation with the assistance of a professional. A good counsellor or psychologist will help you see issues clearly and assist you with strategies for coping. The lawyers at Nicholes Family Lawyers are able to refer you to an appropriate counsellor or psychologist should this be necessary.
6. Plan for the future
See a financial advisor. A good financial advisor will be able to help you plan for the future and help you understand what you will need to set yourself up following separation. They can also advise you on the type of assets that are preferable to retain following separation. The lawyers at Nicholes Family Lawyers take a holistic approach to separation and have a network of professional advisors who we can refer you to if necessary.