What should I do if I decide I need to end a relationship?

Life is complicated enough without having to deal with a breakdown in your marriage or de facto relationship.

If you are considering ending your marriage or de facto relationship, there a couple of practical things which can make the process a little easier from a legal point of view, including:-

  • Attending family counseling

Before making the decision to end a marriage or de facto relationship, you may benefit from taking some therapeutic counseling with your spouse.  It may be that there are no prospects of continuing the relationship, however the process may be used to discuss and reach agreement with respect to how to practically deal with the issues which arise from a breakdown in your relationship, including parenting arrangements, child support, spousal support and property settlement.

  • Attend upon a legal practitioner who specialises in family law

The stress of a breakdown in your relationship can be exacerbated by not taking specialist advice.  Even prior to making a decision to separate, much time, money and stress can be saved by apprising yourself of your rights and entitlements arising from the breakdown in your relationship.

  • Inform yourself

Take the time to inform yourself of the financial circumstances of your marriage or de facto relationship prior to proceeding with any separation.  There can be significant costs and delay in having to obtain documents and records such as bank statements, tax returns, financial statements, etc which are often kept within the family home.  Prior to separating, you should take copies of any such documents, which may become vital in later property settlement negotiations/proceedings.

  • Stay put

There is no legal obligation for one party to vacate the family home upon separation.  Often it is an economic reality that upon spouses deciding to end a relationship, they must remain under the same roof whilst working out a financial settlement.  A spouse who relocates from the family home often places themselves at a significant disadvantage tactically and economically.  Of course, your safety must always be your paramount consideration.

  • Social Media

Resist any temptation you may have to bad mouth or denigrate the other spouse on any social media sites.  A moment’s satisfaction may cause you considerable grief and whilst it is commonsense, it is surprising how many fall foul as a result.

  • Don’t wait too long

There are strict time limitations which apply in matrimonial and de facto proceedings with respect to property settlement and spousal maintenance claims.  If you fail to commence legal proceedings within those time limitations, you are barred from making any such claim unless with leave of the Court.

Ideally you should seek the advice of a lawyer before taking any steps. Give consideration as to whether it is worthwhile to participate in counseling, whether individually or as a couple. If you do decide that you are ending the relationship, ensure that you have copies of any documents that provide evidence of any contributions made by you or the other party at the start of and during the relationship. Ensure that if you decide to leave the home, you take with you any items that have personal significance and would not be able to be replaced or have sentimental value. If there is a history of domestic violence, make sure you and the children are safe. Contact a lawyer, the police or the local domestic violence service at the Magistrates Court at Southport and seek immediate assistance. If you are having difficulty managing your emotions, please see your doctor and seek their assistance

 

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