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Are You Separated or Thinking About Separating?


While separation may be a difficult and emotional time, which may create uncertainty for you, your children and your partner, some necessary practicalities are involved.

Firstly, while the act of separation may be rather obvious, one party must communicate the end of the relationship to the other party.

It is important to note the date of separation. Why?

A married couple need to be separated for 12 months prior to applying for a divorce. In a de facto relationship, a property settlement must be commenced within 2 years from the date of separation. The date will also be relevant for government agencies such as Centrelink and Child Support Agency.

Who is going to remain living in the home?

This may depend on who has the primary care of any children of the relationship, who has alternative accommodation (e.g. relatives) or the means to be pay rent, if you are comfortable or safe to stay in the house.

Other interim considerations:

  • Changing passwords on your computer, apps on your phone, or PIN numbers to bank accounts or credit cards
  • Redirect your mail
  • How are you going to pay the mortgage, support your children or the partner with little or no income? Establish a bank account in your sole name for any surplus income or benefits to be redirected to this account.
  • If it is possible, discuss with your partner what is to happen with any funds remaining in any joint accounts. It may be beneficial to attend at the bank and ensure both persons are required to sign to withdraw money or otherwise deal with the account or funds (provided this is
  • Discuss how joint credit cards are to be used or are they to be paid out and closed.
  • Review your health insurance. You may wish to set up a new policy or discuss who will pay for and remain on the policy.


If you are involved in a property settlement in the future, you will have a duty to disclose. Gather copies of bank and credit card statements, tax returns, superannuation statements, car registration in your sole name, payslips from your employment and any other documents related to assets or liabilities you may have.

Child Support

If there are children of the relationship, arrangements must be made for their financial support. Centrelink or Department of Human Services (Child Support) may assist you in this regard.

Your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney

You may wish to change your Will or Power of Attorney if your partner was an executor/attorney or beneficiary or change your nominated beneficiaries on your superannuation or life insurance policies. Remember to consider whether your partner may need access to some funds to support your children if
you die. If your partner is irresponsible with money, who might be the appropriate person to be the Trustee for your children?

Our specialist Rockhampton family lawyers at South Geldard Lawyers in Rockhampton can help. Please contact us on (07) 4936 9100 or through the website to arrange a fixed fee appointment for advice on family law matter such as:

It is important to seek specific advice regarding your circumstances as this fact sheet provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice.