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Dear Katrina,

What sorts of things should you think about and organise before leaving your marriage?

Deciding to separate is a hard-enough decision in itself, but it also comes with having to make significant life changing decisions which you probably never thought you would have to face.

1. Make sure that you have all of your legal, financial and personal documents together. 

This will include documents such as your birth certificate, passport, bank statements and tax documents. In addition, it will include personal documents such as photographs, awards and the like. If the separation turns acrimonious, it can be difficult and expensive to get these documents back from your former partner.

 2. Talk with your banker about steps that can be taken in relation to joint bank accounts.

Things such as limiting the other party’s access to the joint account or freezing the account completely are two options available. You should then establish your own bank account into which your own money goes into. This will also tie into having a conversation about who is then going to be paying the bills.

3. Consider what parenting arrangements will need to be put in place.

If an agreement can be reached then we recommend that parties enter into a Parenting Plan or ideally have a Consent Order approved by the Court. However, sometimes no agreement can be reached. In this case, mediation should be arranged with a family dispute resolution practitioner as soon as possible.

At Statewide Family Law we can assist clients to navigate their way through one of the most stressful times of their lives and provide advice specific to them and their circumstances. Give us a call on 4963 0800.