I’m newly separated. How can I secure my financial position?
Following your separation there are matters that should be considered to secure your financial position and personal circumstances.
Relationship breakdowns are all too common, but your financial situation will inevitably be different to that of your neighbour, colleague, family members or your best friend.
Important matters, requiring immediate attention, include sorting your accommodation and personal finances and these can be dealt with according to the needs and capacities of each party, for example you should consider:
- Is your income secure? Has a plan been made for ongoing financial support, including child support?
- Are joint bank accounts secure? Contact your bank to discuss steps to protect your savings. Who is the primary card holder of savings/credit card accounts? Is there any risk your access to accounts could be removed?
- Is your property safe? Review your insurance policies to be satisfied policies are current and paid to cover your home, contents and other valuable items.
- Is it necessary to update security settings, electronic passwords, social media or email accounts and/or physical locks?
- Is your investment/business safe? Speak with your Accountant or other advisers to gain an understanding what control or responsibilities each party may have particularly if you have a business, company or trust.
- Are your documents safe? Do you have access to or copies of important documents such as passports, birth and/or marriage certificates?
- Are your legal interests secure? Is it appropriate to consider severing the tenancy of jointly owned real estate?
- You should also consider discussing what is required to ensure expenses such as insurances, rates, mortgage instalments and school fees continue to be made.
- Review, update or make a Will and/or Powers of Attorney. It is also important to review your superannuation fund and update any nomination you have made in favour of your former spouse.
If you do not update documents that deal with your estate after separation, there can be confusion and concern for those dealing with your estate. It is strongly recommended that you review your Will, Powers of Attorney and/or nomination to your superannuation entitlements early after separation. This is particularly important where you may have amicably separated for some time and for any number of reasons are not yet divorced.
Additional measures may also be necessary if domestic and family violence has contributed to your separation and the safety of you and your family.
You can apply for a divorce once you have been separated on a final basis for a minimum of 12 months. For de facto couples you are expected to have addressed your property settlement within 2 years of the date of separation.
It may take some time to reach an agreement about your property settlement, but you do not need to wait until you have finalised your property settlement plan to secure your property and/or financial position in the short term or update your superannuation, Will or Powers of Attorney.
Make an investment in your personal and financial security by consulting with a family lawyer at the earliest opportunity following separation.
If you would like a personalised assessment of your circumstances, contact us on 07 5609 4933 for a free initial consultation or book online https://www.ctlawyers.com.au/booking/