Before you make a decision to separate, there are some important things you need to consider.
From where you’ll live, to how you’ll manage as a single parent if you have children, and how you’re going to cope financially, deciding to separate is not a decision that should be made lightly.
Here are 10 things you should consider before separating.
1. Consider Counselling
Before you officially decide to separate, think about whether counselling might be worth pursuing. If you want to try and make things work between you and your partner, instead of separating, counselling can be worth a shot, as long as both of you are willing to try.
2. Think About Living Arrangements
Your current living arrangements are most likely going to have to change. Whether you will have to move out, or your partner will end up moving out, needs to be worked out. Alternatively, both of you might have to move in order to be able to afford a place of your own.
3. Who Gets What?
Is there anything you are particularly attached to when it comes to your household belongings? Make a list of how you think your personal effects and furniture should be divided. Hopefully you can come to an amicable agreement about them.
How you split your financial assets though may end up being trickier to manage. For disagreements between you, family mediation could be a good and affordable alternative to dragging your separation or divorce through the family courts.
4. Sort Out Your Finances & Paperwork
Gather all important documents you will need – passports, certificates, official records and documents, etc. You should also make a spreadsheet of all your current financial affairs, showing what policies, assets and savings you each have.
This gives you a snapshot of your finances at the time of separation which is good to have as a reference point.
5. Have You Got Your Own Bank Account?
If you’ve been using a joint account for most of your finances, you need to set up an account that’s just in your name. It will help you to separate your finances more easily if you do decide to split up.
6. Set Some Ground Rules For Separation
If possible, come to a mutual agreement on some ground rules following your separation. They could be simple things like no yelling in front of the children and no badmouthing the other to the children or mutual friends.
This can help you both remain civil to each other and not get nasty, if boundaries have been set and agreed to.
7. Build A Support Network
When you separate, you’re going to need a strong support network around you. There are going to be days that you might struggle, either physically to get everything done, or emotionally or mentally.
Being able to pick up the phone and call someone who you know can be there for you, whether it’s just a 5 minute pep talk on the phone or coming over to give some company for the evening, is going to make all the difference to how you cope with your separation.
8. Know It’s Going To Be Emotional
Think about how a separation is going to affect you emotionally. Whether you’ve been together for 2 years or 20 years, making a break from someone you loved and lived with is going to be emotionally devastating and draining.
Don’t expect yourself to sail through breezily into your newly single life. There will be good days and bad days, but know that the good will outweigh the bad as time goes on.
9. Set Up A PO Box Address
If you’d like peace of mind that you’ll always get your post, set up a PO Box address which can’t be accessed by your partner. In the event you continue to live together for a while after separating, you can rest assured that they can’t interfere with your mail.
PO Boxes do come with an annual cost, but if you’d prefer a free option, a parcel locker is a great option and has no cost as it’s a shared service. You can set it up online in a matter of minutes through Australia Post. When you get mail, you’ll receive an email with a code to use to collect it from your parcel locker.
10. Make A List Of Who You Need To Update
Just like you need to do when you move house, make a list of who you need to inform of your separation. This could include telling your mortgage company or landlord if you’re renting, checking your life insurance cover and benefits, checking your super benefits (who is set to receive your superannuation should you pass away), updating your will, power of attorney, and medical directive.
If needed, inform Centrelink as it may affect what benefits and rebates you’re entitled to, and also make a list of who to tell when it comes to family and friends.
Once you’ve considered all these things, you’ll be more prepared to cope with what happens after you decide to separate.
If you’re going through a separation or divorce and need help coming to a mutual agreement on certain issues, it’s time to think about family mediation.
Our accredited family mediator in Perth, Ian Shann, can help you both move on quickly and affordably, with minimum fuss and cost.
Call us on 0418 928 448 today or get in touch with Ian online now.