Separation is when you stop living together as a couple, even if you are still living in the same house. You do not need to get permission or your partner’s agreement. If you are new to Australia or worried about your residency, get legal help.
I have just separated, what should I do now?
Try to stay calm. Make a plan and try not to make decisions in the heat of the moment. Keep an open mind and remember that plans can change so have some flexibility.
Seek legal advice. Even if you have come to an amicable agreement to separate, your solicitor can offer valuable advice in order for you to act in your own best interests.
To separate from your partner you do not have to apply to a court or government organisation, or fill in any forms. You will not get a certificate saying you are separated. You will need to however:
- Tell organisations such as Centrelink, Department of Human Services and Medicare that you are separated.
- Make proper arrangements for any children involved, and tell your family and friends.
- Sort out your financial affairs – work out how debts and loans will be paid, whether you have joint bank accounts, what your superannuation or insurance entitlements are and change your Will. Tell your banks, superannuation and insurance companies of your separation too.
This will help if you need to prove you are separated.
What will happen if I leave the family home?
If you do leave the family home, you will not lose your rights to the house, your belongings or any other assets of the relationship.
If you do need to leave your home urgently, it is best to take all your legal and financial papers with you, such as:
- Birth and other certificates
- Bank and cheque books, bank statements
- Superannuation statements
- Personal things you are worried about leaving behind
Will I still be entitled to my share in the property?
Yes you will be entitled to your share even if you leave the family home. To find out more about Property Settlement see our dedicated property settlement information page.
How long do I have to wait before I can get a divorce?
To find out information about divorce see our dedicated divorce information page
Who will get custody of the children if we separate?
If there is a dispute in relation to the arrangements for the children you should seek legal advice to resolve matters as quickly as possible.
To find out information about children’s matters see our children’s matter information page
Tips to assist you through your separation:
Tip 1:- Make sure you have a good support base. Have people around you whom you love and trust.
Tip 2:- Don’t try and make important decisions on your own or on the “spur of the moment”. Understand the family law process. You owe it to yourself and your family to make sure that your decisions are well informed.
Tip 3:- Don’t let your ex-partner tell you how things will be and get legal advice before you agree to any of their demands. If you feel as though your ex-partner is attempting to railroad you or has stopped communicating with you, get good legal advice straight away.