The period after the breakdown of a relationship is often a time of stress and turbulence. To help you to organise your matter before you come and see us after the Christmas break, please consider the following tips.
1. Take copies of all relevant financial documentation, including but not limited to:
1.1. Bank statements;
1.2. Trust Deeds;
1.3. Mortgage statements;
1.4. Company financial statements; and
1.5. Personal tax returns.
2. Ensure that any of your personal items are in a safe place, including any family heirlooms.
3. If there is a risk that your partner or spouse may attempt to remove funds or increase spending on a credit card on which they are an additional cardholder, consider whether:
3.1. any significant funds in joint accounts should be isolated in a personal account until an agreement can be reached on how to utilise those funds;
3.2. the bank needs to be notified and steps need to be taken to make any joint accounts “two to sign”; and/or
3.3. additional cards should be cancelled or the limit be reduced.
4. Change any passwords for your internet banking, email accounts or social media accounts, if necessary.
5. Do not post anything on social media. At all.
6. Discuss whether any expenses can be reduced pending a property settlement being finalised.
7. Make a list of all your assets and liabilities (including those in your sole name, your partner’s sole name, in joint names or held on trust).
If you have children
8. Do not involve the children in the separation and, if possible, agree how best to tell them.
9. Discuss who should will take them to their various activities/family events.
10. If the other party agrees to move out of the home, discuss temporary arrangements for the child spending time with the other parent. Please keep in mind that any arrangements should be made having regard to the child’s best interests, and particularly their age and stage of development. For example, it may not be appropriate for a young baby to spend a significant amount of time away from their primary caregiver.
11. If you are concerned that your partner may attempt to remove the child/ren from the country, safeguard their passport.
If you have any specific questions that you would like to ask your lawyer, we recommend that you write them down prior to the appointment and bring them with you.